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Aged care system 'waits for people to die'

Aged care system 'waits for people to die'.jpg

Aged care system 'waits for people to die' (Pixabay)

People living in residential aged care facilities are left "stateless" in a system that is waiting for them to die, and "no one seems to give a toss", an expert says.

Professor Joseph Ibrahim said residential aged care should be a place where people can enjoy the last few months or years before they die.

"They know they're going to die. We know they're going to die," he told the aged care royal commission.

"What currently happens is most of us sit around waiting for them to die and if they die quickly then it's a good job done.

"Everyone thinks that's a good thing and it's clearly not."

Prof Ibrahim said federal and state governments do not care about people living in aged care facilities.

"Residents are stateless," he told the Sydney hearing on Thursday.

"The parliament does not care about people in residential aged care.

"If they truly care they would do something or at least say something. They don't say anything. They don't act."

The head of the Health, Law and Ageing Research Unit within Monash University's Department of Forensic Medicine said nothing had changed in the last 15 years despite numerous inquiries and promises.

"If you have to go somewhere that is not your home, you deserve something better than you're currently getting."

Referring to a typical aged care resident, Prof Ibrahim said the result of being stateless was "an 80-to-90-year-old woman who had a hard time, sacrificed her life for the betterment of everyone else and is still doing it, and no one seems to give a toss".

Prof Ibrahim said society seemed to accept people dying prematurely in nursing homes, such as through falls.

"We accept people dying prematurely because we believe they're old and have no benefit to society, and that's just wrong."

Prof Ibrahim also criticised the lack of focus on residential aged care and the royal commission during the federal election campaign.

"The election is on Saturday and there's not been a word spoken."

The federal Labor opposition has pledged to ensure registered nurses and the appropriate mix of properly trained staff are at residential aged care facilities at all times.

The coalition government defended its investment in aged care, including expanding residential care and bringing in new standards for the industry.

© AAP 2019