With population growth on the rise and longer life expectancy, quality aged care has become a consideration for an exponentially growing number of families. For many families the ideal aged care option would allow their loved one to stay home, as long as that is still possible.
Over the past two decades research has consistently shown that most people would prefer to remain in their home indefinitely as they age. Various studies and reports over the years, both in Australia and internationally, put the figures for that preference at between 76% to 89% for those over 60*.
Population growth, immigration and increased life expectancy are all factors that impact our modern society. Unfortunately this also adds many pressures to existing aged care infrastructure, which is making it more and more difficult to find quality care for our ageing family members. The result is that for many of our elderly they often continue unassisted until an accident becomes the catalyst for action.
Statistics show that 33% of people aged 65 or older are at risk of a fall, and 70% of falls will require hospital stays**. But most are sent home within a few days to make hospital beds available for other more critical cases. This massively impacts the families of these patients as statistics also tell us that after a fall, 50% of this group can’t get up out of bed, a chair or the toilet without assistance.
And, as if that wasn’t alarming enough, 40% will also suffer an additional health challenge such as a stroke within six months of the fall. It quickly becomes obvious how important it is to have appropriate care in place.
In February 2016, CHOICE*** reported: “You don’t have to look far to find a horror story about a nursing home. More than a few reports over the years have described residents being subject to poor and sometimes inhumane treatment by overstretched staff – and complaining has made matters worse for some.”
Here at Platinum Healthcare we regularly talk to people who have serious concerns about the quality of care their loved one is getting. Probably the most telling comment I ever heard was from an older man whose wife had dementia. He realised that is difficult as it would be, the time had come when he needed to consider a nursing home for his beloved wife as he was to frail himself to continue to look after her. He told me that he ended up inspecting 12 homes and was mostly extremely disappointed at what he saw. In fact his exact words to me were – “into 6 of the nursing homes I visited I wouldn’t put my dog“.
In this series of posts we will look at these alarming threats to quality aged care and then consider the vital steps you must take when choosing a home care provider for your elderly/ageing family member.
*Productivity Commission Report – Housing Decisions of Older Australians
**Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
***CHOICE – Failing standards in nursing homes and aged care.