Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

On 9 October 2018 the Federal Government announced the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.  As a significant provider of aged care services in residential, community and in home settings across Australia Calvary’s aged and community care services has worked with the Royal Commission to bring about meaningful change to aged care services in Australia.

At Calvary we pride ourselves on the provision of high quality care delivered by dedicated Calvary staff across Australia. We are proud of our workforce and the way they all ensure the dignity of each person is paramount and that care is tailored to each person’s well-being and goals.

The Royal Commission released its Final Report on 1 March 2021. To read the Final Report, detailing 148 recommendations to Government for aged care reform, visit the Royal Commission website.

Calvary welcomes the Royal Commission’s Final Report and looks forward to meeting the challenges of aged care reform. We look forward to working with the Government, our residents, clients and their loved ones whilst working with our dedicated aged and community care staff to provide the best care possible with the spirit of Calvary guiding our work.

 

Calvary Royal Commission Response Unit

In preparation for the Royal Commission, Calvary established the Royal Commission Response Unit. This Unit’s role is to ensure that any requests from the Royal Commission and any queries from the people in our care and their loved ones are handled and responded to promptly, accurately and efficiently.

Please direct any questions you have to:

 royalcommissionenquiries@calvarycare.org.au

Please visit this page regularly for any updates from Calvary about the Royal Commission.

More Information

 

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

A Royal Commission is formal inquiry established by Executive Government under the Royal Commissions Act 1902. The Governor-General issues Letters Patent which provide the scope and duration of the Commission’s work which is how it gets “Royal” in its title.

Royal Commissions are usually established when there is a controversial issue or problems have been identified in a certain area/sector.

There is currently a Royal Commission into the Banking and Financial Services System underway which is due to report next year.

The Royal Commissions Act 1902 sets out the powers and procedures of Royal Commissions.

Under the Act a Royal Commission is empowered to:

      • summons a witness and take evidence;
      • require a person appearing at a hearing to produce documents and things;
      • apply to a judge for a warrant to search premises, vehicles etc.;
      • compel witnesses to give evidence, including self-incriminating evidence;
      • issue an arrest warrant if a witness fails to appear; and
      • deal with contempt.

Royal Commissions have coercive powers and are able to impose penalties. These penalties may include contempt of the Commission or as specific legislative offences.

For example, the penalty for failing to appear without a reasonable excuse when summonsed, failing to produce a document or thing under summons or refusing to be sworn or answer questions is $1000 or 6 months imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for knowingly giving false or misleading evidence to a Royal Commission is five years imprisonment or a fine of $20,000.

The Prime Minister announced the Government’s intention to establish a Royal Commission into the aged care sector on 16 September 2018 after being shocked by a “disturbing” trend of non-compliance and failures in the aged care sector provided in briefings to him by the public service. The Royal Commission was formally confirmed on 26 September 2018 and the Terms of Reference announced Tuesday 9 October 2018.

The Federal Government has appointed two Commissioners. They are:

      • The Hon. Tony Pagone QC*
      • Ms Lynelle Briggs AO 

*Tony Pagone QC replaced former Commissioner The Hon. Richard Tracey AM RFD QC following his death in 2019. 

What is examined by a Royal Commission is defined in the Scope and Terms of Reference.

Scope

The Royal Commission is directed to look at all forms of Commonwealth funded aged care services – regardless of where they are delivered

Terms of Reference

      • Quality and safety including the extent of substandard care.
      • How to best deliver care services to people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities including younger people.
      • How to best deliver care to the increasing number of Australians living with dementia.
      • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services, including people’s desire to remain living at home as they age, and aged care in rural, regional and remote Australia.
      • What the Government, the aged care sector, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen care services to ensure quality and safety.
      • How to allow people greater choice, control and independence and how to improve engagement with families and carers.
      • How to best deliver sustainable aged care services through innovative care and investment in the aged care workforce and infrastructure.
      • Any matters that the Commissioners believe is relevant to their inquiry.

The Royal Commission has also been asked to specifically focus on a number of areas under section such as;

All aspects of the quality and safety of aged care services including but not limited to

      • Dignity
      • Choice and control
      • Clinical care
      • Medication management
      • Mental health
      • Personal care
      • Nutrition
      • Positive behaviour supports to reduce or eliminate the use of restrictive practices
      • End of life care
      • Systems to ensure that high quality care is delivered, such as governance arrangements and management support systems

The Royal Commission will also examine;

      • Workforce, carer supports
      • Diversity of older Australian and barriers to accessing high quality care
      • Interface with other services – primary health, acute care and disability services
      • Examples of good practice/innovative models of care
      • Finding of other reports and inquiries.

In 2018 the Federal Government asked that the Royal Commission begin as soon as practicable and that it provide an interim report by the 31 October 2019  and a final report by 12 November 2020.

The Royal Commission released its Final Report on 1 March 2021. The Final Report formally concludes the Royal Commission, after two years of inquiries and 99 days of hearings.

To read the Final Report, detailing 148 recommendations to government for aged care reform, visit the Royal Commission website.

Calvary is a significant provider of service to older people with 14 hospitals and  17 retirement communities in NSW, SA and the ACT; as well as providing home care support for more than 10,000 clients a month across Calvary Community Care in Victoria, NSW, ACT and South Australia.

As a significant provider of aged care services in residential, community and in home settings across Australia, Calvary’s aged and community care services has assisted the work of the Royal Commission.

Calvary welcomed the opportunity to participate and support the work of the Royal Commission.

Calvary has engaged openly and transparently with the Commission.

At Calvary we pride ourselves on the provision of high quality care delivered by dedicated Calvary staff across Australia. We are proud of our workforce and the way you all ensure the dignity of each person is paramount and that care is tailored to each person’s well-being and goals.

At Calvary we try to learn from each person and improve our care based on their experience and feedback.

At the same time we acknowledge that, at times, the standard of care across the aged care sector can fall well short of community expectations.

There is no doubt there are serious challenges ahead in ensuring that Australia is able to meet the growing demand for aged care services. Calvary looks forward to meeting those challenges whilst striving to provide the best care possible to our clients and residents with the spirit of Calvary guiding our work.

We see this as an opportunity to continue to improve on the services we provide to older Australians. We want our services to get better and better.

In preparation for the Royal Commission Calvary  put in place a Royal Commission Response Unit to ensure that Calvary’s readiness to engage and that any requests from the Royal Commission were handled and responded to promptly, accurately and efficiently.

This Unit will ensure that Calvary is able to respond promptly, openly and accurately with any requests from the Royal Commission.

The Response Unit will ensure that any requests from the Commission, our patients, residents and clients, their families and our staff, are handled and responded to promptly and efficiently. Please contact the Unit by email:

E | royalcommissionenquiries@calvarycare.org.au

We know that Royal Commissions can be unsettling for residents, clients, families and staff. We will do everything we can to support you through this process by keeping you informed and updated on the Royal Commissions work and providing information in a transparent, accountable and timely manner.

Being prepared for requests for information from the Commission is important to us. We are privileged to have the trust of our communities and by being transparent, accountable and supportive of improving aged care quality and safety, we seek to maintain your trust throughout this process.

Royal Commissions can be an unsettling and worrying for residents, clients and your families and carers. Calvary will do everything we can to support you through this process by keeping you informed and updated about the Royal Commission’s work.

If you have any concerns about the Royal Commission or issues you would like to raise, please contact The Royal Commission Response Unit

E | royalcommissionenquiries@calvarycare.org.au

Has the Royal Commission looked at Calvary Services?

All aged care providers, including Calvary, have been asked to be involved in the work of the Royal Commission and some providers have been called before the Commission to give evidence.

Calvary has engaged proactively and positively with the Royal Commissions work and has acted promptly and accurately with any requests for information from the Royal Commission.

How has Calvary been involved in the Royal Commission?

We have worked openly with the Royal Commission including providing evidence at two hearings, specifically on the role of palliative and end of life care in aged care.

Access to the highest possible quality of palliative and end of life care is a corner stone of Calvary’s commitment to the people we serve.

We were pleased to offer expert clinical advice to the Royal Commissioners on palliative and end of life care in aged care and the need to expand services to ensure more people in aged care will have access as needed.

Is the Royal Commission the same as a court?

A Royal Commission is not the same as a formal legal proceedings before a court.

However, the hearings do have a legal appearance to them with lawyers appearing before the Commission and some of the more formal processes of Courts used.

There are serious penalties for not appearing when called as a witness before a Royal Commission, for not providing information that is requested by the Royal Commission or for misleading or lying to a Royal Commission.

Penalties can include substantial fines and/or jail sentences.

Will you keep me updated?

Yes. In addition to finding the latest information on this webpage, Martin Bowles, Calvary’s National CEO, will write to Calvary clients and residents or a nominated representative, on a regular basis to keep you updated about the work of the Royal Commission and the Government’s response.

Can I talk to someone at Calvary about the Royal Commission?

Yes. If you or your family are worried about anything to do with your care the work of the Royal Commission we encourage you to speak with your local Calvary Manager.

You may also contact the Calvary Royal Commission Response Unit by  emailing royalcommissionenquiries@calvarycare.org.au

 

The Government has announced that its response to the Royal Commission will be driven by the principle of respect and care and through the lens of five key focus areas:

      • home care;
      • residential aged care quality and safety;
      • residential aged care services and sustainability;
      • workforce; and
      • governance.

Calvary welcomes the Government’s announcement to make important legislative changes, replacing the Commonwealth’s Aged Care Act 1997 to enable the necessary reforms to be implemented and strengthening the role of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to ensure better care.

While Calvary welcomes the Government’s initial additional investment announced on 1 March 2021, we recognise the immense task ahead for the Government in transforming the aged care sector in Australia.

We look forward to the Federal Budget in May when we expect the Government to announce additional investments in the aged care sector.

The Royal Commission released its Final Report on 1 March 2021.

As part of the Royal Commission’s recommendations, the Commissioners have proposed a timeline for the implementation of the recommended reforms by the Government.

It is proposed that the Parliament aims to implement the recommended changes over the next 4 years.