Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Elderly Wait for Help

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Elderly Wait for Help

Article excerpt

Byline: Meg Bolton

WHILE the interim report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety highlighted cases of abuse, neglect and suffering of Australia's elderly, CentacareCQ chief executive Robert Sims said the report wasn't all "doom and gloom".

"For me the report spoke really well of the challenges the aged care sector currently faces," Mr Sims said.

"It's a really good reality check for the things we don't do well in the sector and highlights what's going on, but there are some good things happening." Three of the biggest issues in the report were the need for home care packages, an over-reliance on chemical restraints and preventing younger people with disability from entering aged care.

Mr Sims knows the importance of securing more home care packages better than most. With more than 1157 Central Queenslanders on the waitlist he deals with people in need daily.

"The wait list is a real challenge. It's almost a lottery - they don't know when they're going to get support," he said.

CentacareCQ provides care for 2000 elderly people and those with a disability in Central Queensland, through assistance, counselling, support and education - many of them are on the waitlist.

Mr Sims said there needs to be more transparency surrounding the home care package selection process in order for people to access help.

"It's a bit of a black spot about how those processes work," he said. "The earlier we can get people in, the better outcome for the entire system." A total of 1209 people in the Fitzroy region are receiving home care packages but almost as many people are waiting.

He said waiting for help had a significant impact on seniors' livelihood. "If you can get the right level of support early we might be able to slow down deterioration and get better support for the clients, which reduces the long term wait list." While cases of abuse continue to be commonly linked to the Royal Commission, Mr Sims said a lot of the wrongdoings were historical and the system was already changing to protect the vulnerable. …

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