On the 8 October 2018 the Governor General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, established The Royal Commission into Aged Care. The commissioners are required to provide a final report by 30 April 2020.
The report aims to look at how older people are cared for and work out what needs to change in order to make aged care services better. In compiling the report the commissioners will work closely with those in the aged care industry.
Operating within the Lutheran Church of Australia Queensland District (LCAQD) there are nine aged care services supported by Lutheran Services. The first of these to open was Salem Lutheran Rest Home, founded by the Lutheran congregations in Toowoomba in 1935.
‘As a respected provider of aged care services to the people and communities of Queensland for more than 80 years, and as a major employer of aged care support workers, Lutheran Services has welcomed this review of the industry’, says Amanda Scanlan, Corporate Communication Manager at Lutheran Services.
Amanda believes that the Royal Commission is an opportunity to express the views of Lutheran Services and, in doing so, contribute to shaping the aged care system for Australia’s future and to improve the quality of the care the industry provides to older Australians.
Lutheran Services made a submission to the Royal Commission in January 2019. ‘In the submission, we shared how we had made improvements in our aged care services over the past five years, and also made recommendations for the future of Australia’s aged care sector’, Amanda continues. ‘The recommendations included how to better serve our elderly Australians in rural and regional Queensland – the main areas in which we operate.’
While Amanda is optimistic about the Royal Commission she does concede that there may be challenges ahead for Lutheran Services and others who operate aged care services.
‘By the nature of the Royal Commission’s hearings, there may be more disturbing stories coming out over the next few months’, she says. ‘This could impact the perception of people who work or volunteer in aged care. The welfare of our staff, along with that of our residents, is our highest priority. We have offered staff and residents support if they feel they need it throughout the duration of the Royal Commission.
‘We are looking forward to the Royal Commission producing good outcomes for the work of aged care, both within Lutheran Services and in other such agencies in Australia.’
Amanda is confident that the results of the Royal Commission will ensure that those who are aging can expect to be safe and well cared for long into the future. ‘This Royal Commission will make recommendations to the Government on how to improve aged care services in Australia into the future’, she explains. ‘If the government takes up the recommendations, older Australians will be delivered better outcomes.’
As for LCAQD’s own Lutheran Services? Amanda asserts that they aim to continue to evolve and improve their services, safeguarding the quality of life for the seniors in their care, and providing peace of mind for their families.