Facilities focus

State election March 2017: With the state election just over the horizon, the Fremantle Herald takes a look at some of the policy announcements affecting seniors. 

WA Labor says it will look at what government-owned sites can be converted into aged care facilities if it’s elected in March.

Aimed at freeing up public hospital beds, Labor’s plan also includes cutting red tape to let aged care providers build new facilities more quickly. The government would identify suitable land and get councils and state departments to expedite their development.

“Demand for aged care beds currently outstrips supply in Western Australia,” says Opposition leader Mark McGowan.

“As a consequence we currently have nearly 150 elderly waiting in our public hospitals until an aged care place can be found.

“The average wait for an elderly person in hospital to be transferred to an aged care bed is 68 days. At a cost of approximately $1910 per day, this is hardly the best use of taxpayers’ money.”

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Tackling elder abuse

LABOR has also promised to address the growing problem of elder abuse.

The Opposition has pledged to speed up amendments to the law surrounding enduring powers of attorney and guardianship. It follows a growing number of people looting their parents’ and relatives’ assets because oversight is lax.

Labor says it will establish a register of enduring powers or attorney and guardianship.

It would also set up education programs for professionals who regularly deal with elderly people so they can better identify possible abuse.

It would also implement measures to assist isolated elderly people’s connection to the community.

Labor leader Mark McGowan says care and support for seniors is embedded in many of his party’s policies.

“Medihotels and Urgent Care Clinics will put patients first, and Metronet will give people public transport in the neighbourhoods where they live,” Mr McGowan said.

Medihotels will provide outpatients somewhere to recover outside the state’s main tertiary hospitals, freeing up beds and also providing them a more relaxing atmosphere. It will also give family members the opportunity to stay nearby.

“Our Urgent Care Clinics will have a direct line of communication with the local emergency department and will be able to prioritise patients referred to the ED if their condition deteriorates,” Mr McGowan said.

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