The area’s leading aged care provider has welcomed the introduction of an independent ageing and disability commissioner tasked with investigating and stamping out elder abuse in Port Stephens and across NSW.
The commissioner will take office on July 1, 2019.
Gerry Mohan, board chairman of Port Stephens Veterans & Citizens Aged Care, said the not-for-profit company had welcomed the involvement of a commissioner to investigate and irradiate abuse of elderly residents.
“We also welcome any guidelines that staff can follow, as well as the respect of residents’ privacy,” Mr Mohan said.
“The company would like to see mediation as part of the complaints procedure as care facility management are often the last to be told unless it is a serious issue.”
Scot MacDonald, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, said that older people, adults with disability and their loved ones would be empowered by the new commissioner, whose key function is to receive, triage and investigate allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
“The commissioner can also provide support to vulnerable adults and their families/carers following an investigation; report and make recommendations to government on systemic issues; raise community awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation; and administer the official community visitors program in relation to disability services and assisted boarding houses,” he said.
The commissioner will work closely with the new specialist elder abuse officers, who will be introduced in each NSW Police command, to undertake crime prevention and investigate matters which involve a criminal offence.
“If a person with disability or an older person is currently experiencing abuse they should contact NSW Police, NSW Ombudsman or the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit.”
In the meantime, Janet Anderson has been appointed the inaugural commissioner of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
The role of the commission is to protect and enhance the safety, health, well-being and quality of life of people in aged care.