Protecting older people

While working in an aged care facility, employee may see signs of older people being abused. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often but it is important to know: 

  • what abuse is; 
  • how to recognise if someone is being abused; and 
  • know what to do about it.

Identifying and Reporting Abuse Background 

Compulsory reporting and protection requirements commenced on 1 July 2007 following amendments to The Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act). The Act was announced as a series of measures to provide ‘greater protection’ for aged care residents. Other measures include mandatory police checking of aged care staff, the establishment of the ‘Office of Aged Care Quality and Compliance and the role of the Aged Care Commissioner. 

The Aged Care Act defines abuse that must be reported. The Act describes these abuses as ‘reportable assaults’. Unlawful sexual contact and unreasonable use of force are forms of abuse considered ‘reportable assaults’. 

Abuse of the elderly is defined as:

 “A single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person” (World Health Organization, 2008)

Forms of Abuse 

This section describes the different forms of abuse and exploitation that can occur and the signs that may indicate that an older person has been abused. 

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