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Significant Increase in Aged Care Assaults

According to a recently released federal government report, approximately 2250 people were allegedly assaulted in nursing homes in 2012-13.

The report has prompted aged care advocates to call for an overhaul of the sector to better protect residents.

The report indicates that alleged assaults rose by 14 per cent from 2011-12, despite the number of residents only increasing by 1.6 per cent in the same period. More specifically, the alleged assaults revealed 1878 instances of suspected unreasonable use of force, 349 cases of unlawful sexual contact and 29 of both.

Oddly, the aged care sector’s complaints resolution body had only received an increase of some 400 calls from the previous year’s data.

A new Australian Aged Care Quality Agency will begin operation from January 2014, and new national quality indicators will be introduced from July 2014.

If you have suffered from abuse or assault or know someone who has, a reportable assault is defined in the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) (section 63–1AA) means:

– unlawful sexual contact with a resident of an aged care home; or
– unreasonable use of force on a resident of an aged care home.

This definition captures assaults ranging from deliberate and violent physical attacks on residents to the use of physical force on a resident.

If you or a person you know has suffered from such abuse or assault, contact the Aged Care Complaints Scheme immediately on 1800 550 552