Aged Care – reflection and hope
With the commencement of hearings this week at the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality & Safety we have been following proceedings here at Metrixcare with interest but also great sadness. Although our focus in recent years has been making a difference through healthcare analytics mainly in the acute care sector we actually have a long history of dealing with issues common to an ageing population.
In our early days at the Repatriation General Hospital in Adelaide we would talk about the ‘Repat’ being a hospital of the future given the average age of patients was about 74 years old. Our patient issues were often complex to manage and they experienced all the issues associated with chronic disease and the many challenges faced by elderly people. Their problems don’t go away when they leave the walls of the hospital and we did some internationally recognised work to improve quality, safety and integration of care.
It’s hard to believe that was 20 years ago when it sometimes seems that not much has changed for our health system since then. Many of the same clinical issues are shared between acute care and aged care. Patients still experience medication issues, cross-infections, falls and pressure injuries as well as new management challenges with the increase in conditions such as dementia.
The Royal Commission has already made reference to the fact that some issues of concern may be hard to quantify or even to define. One of my concerns is that the aggressive language and behaviour of our oversight agencies may create an environment of fear and blame that causes some key issues to remain hidden. It is our social and moral responsibility to face these challenges and not let them be driven underground.
I am hopeful that the Royal Commission will help to shine a light on our aged care sector to encourage a culture of honesty, compassion and accountability so we can truly feel proud of the great work performed in our aged care sector every day.