Revealed: Shocking rate of our aged care abuse
Three elderly Queenslanders are being abused each day on average in the state's aged care facilities, a shock new report has found.
It follows allegations last week that an elderly man was bashed to death by a fellow resident and another person died following a morphine overdose at the Japara Noosa nursing home.
The latest aged care performance data from the Federal Government shows there were 252 reportable assaults in Queensland aged care facilities from July to September last year, an average of three per day.
A reportable assault is defined as non-consensual sexual contact involving residents or an unreasonable use of force on a resident in an aged care facility.
Another 37 residents were reported missing during that same period of time, according to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission's sector performance report.
The number of reportable assaults in Queensland were just slightly lower than those in Victoria and about half of that in NSW.
Opposition spokeswoman for ageing and seniors Julie Collins said there needed to be a serious incident response scheme implemented to respond to assault and abuse in the aged care system.
"The aged care regulator is a toothless tiger and doesn't have the powers it needs to stop abuse and assault," she said.
"It has been more than three years since this (response) scheme was first recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission following its landmark investigation of elder abuse in Australia."
Ms Collins said the Federal Government had "sat on its hands" in response to assaults in aged care.
"These tragic figures confirm just how broken our aged care system is under the Morrison Government," she said.
Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck said the Federal Government took complaints about quality and safety very seriously.
He said it had allocated $67.2 million to prioritise the serious incident response scheme, with it intended to begin early this year.
"All senior Australians have the right to feel safe in their own home and to have access to high quality care," he said.
He said the scheme would give the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner additional powers to respond to incident, including imposing civil penalties, infringement notices, enforceable undertakings, and injunctions.
He said the Commissioner was already taking action to "remedy the performance of these aged care services".
The Courier-Mail reported on Saturday an Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission audit revealed "multiple assaults between consumers, causing injury and death" as well as an incorrect dose of morphine delivered to a end-of-life care patient who died 90 minutes later.
Originally published as Revealed: Shocking rate of our aged care abuse