Riverina residents involved in aged care have named better staff and a crackdown on profiteering as their main priorities for change in response to this week's royal commission report.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety final report stated that "substandard care and abuse pervades the Australian aged care system" and made 148 recommendations to the federal government.
Riverina occupational therapist Judy Emberson traveled to Canberra to testify before the royal commission in person in November 2019.
"I think there's plenty of money in the system, they have just got to employ professionals to raise the standard and they have got to do it yesterday," she said.
"They don't want health professionals in there and it should not be profit driven," she said.
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"There are incentives to staff and managers to keep costs down...there are incentives to get people with the highest level [care] package...it's all profit-driven.
"I presented at the royal commission with a client from Wagga whose mother died within two weeks [in aged care] from a pressure wound. They were denied a self-help pole, they were denied an alternating pressure care mattress."
In response to the report, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced $452.2 million in funding "to address immediate priorities in the sector".
Griffith aged care resident Martin Botha said priority should be "terrible" training level of staff, who were often difficult to communicate with due to a lack of spoken English skills.
John Hunter, the Junee-based co-ordinator of the NSW/ACT Australian Aged Pensions Group, said he agreed with the overall recommendations but said the government did not have to use a Medicare-style levy.
Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the report "highlights several challenging but achievable recommendations" to which the government will give careful consideration.
"The stories which have come out of this royal commission have been distressing. We all have older family members or friends who have needed or will need aged care," he said.
"I acknowledge and appreciate the strong emotions and distress regarding the report and the government will be working hard to ensure all our older Australians get the aged care they need, want, expect and deserve."
"It's very good that they recommended getting more input from the aged person on practically everything about their care," he said.
Labor Senator Deborah O'Neill said her "greatest concern is that the Morrison McCormack LNP government will do once again what they have done with every aged care report so far - as little as they think they can get away with".
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