Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland welcomed the opportunity to provide a submission to the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee Investigation: Closure of the aged care facility at the Earle Haven Retirement Village in Nerang.
COTA Queensland is deeply concerned with the situation at Earle Haven – in particular the distress experienced by the residents who were removed from their ‘home’ in an emergency-type situation, the health and safety risks for these residents, and the increased concern and alarm for older people and their carers and families in considering Residential Aged Care as an option for themselves and their loved ones in the future.
The Earle Haven situation may have exposed a ‘canary in the mine’ situation, highlighting a number of risks arising through business arrangements between owners of facilities, contractors and sub-contractors. It also may highlight potential areas for attention in relation to the interface between State and Commonwealth responsibilities. In particular, the relationship between the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (Queensland) and the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 (Queensland) and the Commonwealth Aged Care Act 1997; and arrangements in the case of emergency situations for residents of aged care facilities.
COTA Queensland in its submission to the Committee’s Inquiry into Aged Care, End-of-Life and Palliative Care, and Voluntary Assisted Dying commented that it considered the Commonwealth Government’s aged care reforms would improve the standard of care available to older Queenslanders. However, the situation at Earle Haven raises questions as to how well the reforms have been implemented and whether the changes to provider registration and provider quality management have gone far enough.