AMA Position Statement on Health and Care of Older People 2018
Elder abuse - physical, psychological, and financial abuse and neglect of older people - is likely to rise as Australia’s population ages, the AMA says in a new Position Statement. AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, a GP who visits aged care facilities, said that improving the health and care of older people must be a national priority. He noted that by 2056, more than one in five Australians will be over the age of 65.
“Our senior citizens have served this country well. They have contributed to the growth and prosperity that we have come to expect, and now they deserve access to good quality, long-term care in their twilight years “, Dr Bartone said.
The 2017 AMA Aged Care Survey of doctors working in residential aged care facilities revealed that more than one-quarter of respondents stated that they had identified issues with elder abuse. While many reported that it was rare, or a long time ago, there were reports of financial abuse through family members, and neglect due to a lack of appropriately trained staff because of limited resources.
Increasingly, residential aged care facilities are relying on lesser-trained personal care assistants instead of registered and enrolled nurses.
“As Australia’s population ages, and without resourcing for enough appropriately-trained staff, and education for carers and health workers to identify and prevent elder abuse, neglect and abuse of older people - whether accidental or intentional - is likely to increase.
The Position Statement calls for information, training, and support for carers at the time the person is registered for care, to reduce the risk of elder abuse, and for education and training programs on how to recognise, intervene, and manage elder abuse for all health professionals involved in the care of older people.
It also calls for health promotion programs to ward off preventable conditions earlier in life, and for age-friendly environments within society that support healthy ageing.