MS Australia welcomes the release of the final Report of the Aged Care Royal Commission. We were very pleased to see that key recommendations in the Report closely align to the pillars of MS Australia’s Roadmap to Support People Ageing with MS and our Roadmap to Support People with MS Living with Disability. These pillars were set out in some detail in our submission to the Royal Commission in 2019.
Our message was and still is, a simple one. People with MS, regardless of their age, have two fundamental needs: 1. Better treatments, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for the disease and 2. improved support for the management and care of MS.
In our Roadmap to Support People Ageing with MS, we asked for people to be adequately supported to stay at home for as long as possible, through accurate assessment of functional impairments, making appropriate recommendations for their care and support, and investing in additional, new Home Care Packages. The Report contains recommendations that go some way to address these issues, especially in recommending that the Home Care Package waiting list be eliminated.
In this Roadmap, we also asked State and Federal Governments to come together to develop a sustainable solution to the equitable provision of assistive technology to all Australians. Right now, older Australians living with MS with a disability who are ineligible for the NDIS do not have the same access to assistive technology as younger people. This is discriminatory and inequitable, and it needs to change. We are pleased to see recommendations in the Report that acknowledge and address this inequity.
A pillar of MS Australia’s Roadmap to Support People with MS Living with Disability, is to stop young people entering residential aged care. Chapter 11 of the Report addresses this matter in detail and includes recommendation 74: No younger people in residential aged care! This recommendation closely aligns with the Young People in Residential Aged Care Strategy released by the Federal Government in 2020, which aims to ensure no younger people enter or remain in aged care by 2025.
Many of the issues addressed in the Royal Commission’s Report are not new. They reflect issues that MS Australia and its partner organisations and allies have been raising for many years. MS Australia congratulates the Aged Care Royal Commission on such a comprehensive, landmark Report.
We urge the Government to address the Report’s findings and accept and implement each of the Report’s recommendations as a matter of urgency, to meet the immediate needs of older Australians living with MS, their families, friends, loved ones and carers, and to restore faith in the aged care sector in Australia.
To read the Aged Care Royal Commission Report and recommendations in full, please visit: https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/final-report