Image of an older women sitting in her living room

Aged Care Justice extends legal support service to home care recipients

It’s an established trend that Australians are opting to remain in the comfort of their own homes and receive in-home care services rather than move into a residential aged care facility.

Published: 15 November 2022
  • National
  • 15 November 2022
  • Aged Care Justice

Latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals there are approximately 840,000 people utilising the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and around 245,000 people living in residential aged care.

Aged Care Justice provides legal referral services and advocates for reform for people accessing residential aged care across Australia, and as of October 26th 2022, this offering now extends to recipients of home care services. President of Aged Care Justice, Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM KC states, “it is vital that those accessing home care know that legal support is available to help ensure safe and quality care is delivered and issues with their care provider adequately addressed.”

“Our overall objective remains the same,” says Aged Care Justice Vice President, Sue Williamson, “to support and improve the welfare of older Australians.” Williamson explains, “consistent with the human rights approach in promoting choice and welfare, older people should receive care in their location of choice, and receive high quality care regardless of their setting.”

As of the 1st of December 2022, the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) will also be extending to home care, whereby home care service providers are required to report to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) incidences of a serious nature, such as use of force, inappropriate use of restrictive practices, inappropriate sexual conduct, among others. “This is an important step in the right direction however the process relies on provider reporting. Further, the ACQSC is heavily burdened and lacks enforcement powers” warns Aged Care Justice CEO Anna Willis. “Care recipients and their families deserve independent and timely legal support so their rights are prioritised and enforced” states Willis.

Aged Care Justice’s aim is to empower residents to protect their rights. There is no cost in utilising the Aged Care Justice legal referral service. Once a person is referred to an aged care lawyer who can provide advice, the initial consultation is also free. Lawyers have agreed to then identify the most efficient and economical way to proceed, including pro bono for those who qualify.

Please see some educational material we have prepared on restrictive practices here.