Bobby Ball: Cannon & Ball star dies aged 76 after Covid-19 diagnosis

Declan Donnelly of Ant and Dec fame among those paying tribute to Ball, saying he had been one of his “absolute favourite performers growing up”.

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Dr Bruce Reid dead: Essendon AFL doctor passes away, cancer, aged 74

Dr Bruce Reid, the longest-serving senior AFL doctor and Essendon’s Senior Medical Officer since 1982, has died at age 74.

Reid took indefinite leave from the club in 2018 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer affecting the mesothelial cells across internal organs.

The Bombers confirmed Reid passed away on Tuesday night at his home surrounded by his family.

Former Essendon fitness boss John Quinn led the tributes to Reid on Wednesday, writing on Twitter: “Goodbye my old friend – RIP Dr Bruce Reid.”

Grand Final
Dr Bruce Reid with Kevin Sheedy. Picture: George SalpigtidisSource: News Corp Australia

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Prince Azim of Brunei, Sultan of Brunei’s son, dies aged 38

Azim, who was fourth in line to the southeast Asian nation’s throne and carved out a reputation in Hollywood as a movie producer, died on Saturday morning.

The government did not disclose the cause of his death.

The sultan’s second-born son was well known for hosting extravagant parties with celebrity guests including Pamela Anderson, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey.
He had produced a handful of movies, including the 2014 feature “You’re Not You” starring Hilary Swank, building a part-time career in the film industry despite international anger over his father’s move toward draconian punishments in Brunei.

Azim’s funeral took place on Saturday, and the nation has now entered a seven-day period of mourning.

The leaders of several neighboring nations expressed their condolences.

Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said Azim “was known for his kind and generous spirit, and for his dedication to charitable, educational, and youth causes.”

The Indonesian Embassy said in a statement that the Prince “will always be remembered fondly.”

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Frank Bough: Former Grandstand presenter dies aged 87 | Ents & Arts News

Former Grandstand presenter Frank Bough has died aged 87.

A family friend told the BBC the ex-television host died in a care home on Wednesday.

The corporation has paid tribute to him.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Frank excelled as a live presenter with the BBC for many years and we are very sorry to hear of his passing.

“We send our condolences to his family and friends.”

Bough was one of the best-known television personalities of the 1970s and ’80s.

He was part of the launch of the BBC’s Breakfast TV show in 1983.

But his career with the corporation ended in 1988, when he was sacked over a scandal.

He later spoke of his regret over the incident and said his behaviour had been “exceedingly stupid”.

Bough pictured in 1989 fronting an exhibition stand at Waterloo Station in London

Tributes to Bough have been posted online by journalists, politicians and broadcasters.

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan said: “RIP Frank Bough, Star of Grandstand, Nationwide and Breakfast Time.

“His career was ruined by scandal, but he was one of the great live TV presenters. Sad news.”

Former astrologer Russell Grant, who helped launch BBC Breakfast Time with Bough in 1983, said: “I am deeply saddened at the loss of an old television friend.

“Frank Bough was a great man to work with. We launched #BBCBreakfastTime in January 1983. Always there for advice and support.

“‘They said we wouldn’t get on but we absolutely did – chalk n cheese! See you, Frank.”

Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling said Bough was “one of the very best in the business” and had always been “helpful and generous with his time”.

Andrea Jenkins MP, said her father “spoke highly” of him when reminiscing about time served together in the Tank Regiment doing conscription.

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We’ve investigated aged care for the past three years. These are the stories that shocked us

It was billed as the “opportunity of a lifetime”.

And as senior counsel assisting said in the final hearings of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Royal Commission last week, it is “the most in-depth and thorough examination of Australia’s aged care systems that has ever been undertaken”.

The QCs have presented more than 120 recommendations detailing massive reform, including a new Aged Care Act; a star rating system allowing families to compare nursing homes for quality and safety that would also show any reports of abuse and neglect; and new staffing requirements with more nurses and specialist care for dementia and palliative patients.

Of course, none of these recommendations are guaranteed to be taken up by commissioners Tony Pagone and Lynelle Briggs for their final report.

But the reforms include many of the issues the ABC has also investigated over the past two-and-a-half years, from the time we launched our crowdsourced investigation in April 2018 asking families, staff and insiders to share their experiences with us.

The surprise announcement of the aged care royal commission was made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison the day before Four Corners aired the first of our two-part series using the collected stories.

Today, we take a look back at some of those disturbing stories and consider what could change if the reforms being proposed go ahead

Neglect: Hidden camera showed what it really looked like

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Luigi Cantali’s daughter hid a camera in his Sydney nursing home

“Neglect” is the title of the royal commission’s interim report released late last year because the inquiry found it was the common factor in the majority of its 10,000 submissions to the inquiry.

It is difficult to see neglect in action, but that’s exactly what happened when one family gave us two weeks of hidden camera footage showing life at Sydney nursing home Carino Care for 80-year-old Luigi Cantali — a blind Italian man with mild dementia.

We watched three days in his life, revealing how he was left in his chair or bed all day wearing soiled incontinence pads and clothes; how he went hungry when his meal was left out of reach and the hours left alone because staff members rarely came to assist him.

The day after our story aired, the regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, found the home failed more than half the required standards, saying there were not enough skilled staff and recording that residents had “died in pain and distress”.

A lack of staffing ratios and not enough trained staff are two of the consistent themes running through all the royal commission hearings.

That is because there are no staff-to-resident ratios, no requirement for a registered nurse to be on duty, and no standard minimum training for carers who are unregulated.

But that could all change if counsel assisting’s recommendations are accepted by the commissioners.

Staff-to-resident ratios haven’t been proposed, however, the suggested solution is a mix of more qualified staff including registered nurses, enrolled nurse and personal care workers with proper qualifications working a mandated number of hours.

Old man sits in his chair with dinner train a few metres away.
The hidden camera showed blind man Luigi Cantali’s dinner was left out of reach.(Supplied)

They suggested a registered nurse on duty 24/7 with residents receiving more than three hours direct care per day from a mix of staff, better pay for workers, and more accountability from providers who would have to provide quarterly reports on staffing.

This recommendation along with a system rating nursing homes on the My Aged Care website would allow families to make better decisions when choosing care.

Regarding our story on Luigi — he died six days after the family moved him out of Carino Care.

The Quality and Safety Commission hasn’t done a full audit of Carino Care for over a year because of COVID-19.

In its last full audit in October 2019, the regulator found it posed a “serious risk” to residents, failing over 40 per cent of standards, with subsequent inspections finding it is still non compliant, yet the nursing home remains fully accredited until the end of this year.

Carino Care is owned by parent company Tierra Health, a consultancy firm advising other aged care homes on how to meet quality and safety standards.

Sexual assault: 50 assaults per week

Dorothy Major looks out the window at her aged care home. She sits in a wheelchair.
Dorothy Major was sexually assaulted by a nurse in her room at an aged care facility.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Sexual assault in aged care is more common than anyone wants to believe.

In April last year, we spoke to brave families who detailed shocking attacks like the resident with a history of sexually abusing residents who was caught on CCTV assaulting a woman with dementia.

And the worker who sexually abused an elderly woman but escaped any action because she wasn’t believed.

In the final hearings, the royal commission revealed a never-before-seen government-commissioned report that estimated there are 50 sexual assaults per week — the vast majority perpetrated by other residents with dementia and cognitive disabilities.

Under current regulations, there is no requirement to report or register those attacks by impaired residents.

“This is a national shame,” Mr Rozen told the inquiry.

“As disturbing as these figures are, the evidence of the lack of follow-up by the Australian Government department that receives the reports is, if anything, worse.”

However, the issue of sexual abuse was a glaring omission at the hearings.

No victims or families of victims gave evidence, and the issue was not examined in any detail — something that has angered grassroots aged care advocates and support groups who have been dealing with the fallout for years.

However, the counsel assisting has recommended a new “serious incident reporting scheme” that would require nursing homes and home care providers to report all physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by staff as well as residents — including when the allegations involve a perpetrator with dementia.

And there could be more transparency, with a proposed new regulator required to publish a record of the assaults every quarter, showing which providers and individual nursing homes have had assaults on their properties.

Aged care providers would also have to prove what action they had taken and have those measures approved by the regulator.

Dementia care: The hidden camera tells a troubling story

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Ernie’s family put a secret camera in his room to find out why his pyjamas were regularly torn.(Supplied)

Over half the residents in aged care have dementia — and that’s a conservative estimate.

Yet, personal care workers — who do the crucial work of showering, feeding and mobilising the elderly — don’t require any training in the often complex task of helping people who suffer from cognitive decline.

For one of our investigations, we were given hidden camera video showing how Ernie Poloni, who suffered with dementia, was treated at Bupa Templestowe in Melbourne.

Unable to speak, the 85-year-old couldn’t explain why his pyjamas were ripped and in need of replacing so his family installed a camera in his clock radio and discovered it was due to “rough handling” by carers — a term used to describe rough treatment and incorrect techniques.

The camera showed much more than that — carers who looked after the man every day but didn’t speak to him, didn’t warn him when they were moving him, who watched TV and talked to each other as if he wasn’t there.

This lack of knowledge in dealing with people with dementia is the reason counsel assisting has proposed compulsory training in dementia care (and palliative care) for every single aged care worker; reviewing training courses to ensure appropriate education on dementia training; and a register for personal care workers (who are currently unregulated), which would mean mistreatment could see them struck off rather than allowed to move between nursing homes.

Following our story, lawyers for Bupa viewed all the hidden camera footage and said it “seemed likely” that other residents with dementia were treated in the same way as Mr Poloni and undertook to retrain staff in “person centred care”.

Ultimately, Bupa concluded that the care was adequate “but could have been undertaken in a better fashion” and did not see any need to report staff to the regulator.

The Quality and Safety Commission has not done a full audit at Templestowe since August 2019.

Chemical and physical restraint: Dad ‘never came back 100 per cent’

An old man in two photographs side by side. In one he is sitting up smiling, the other he is slumped over, his head on his knees
Terry Reeves on his first day in the home and seven weeks later.(Supplied)

The overuse of physical and chemical restraints has been described as a human rights abuse with the Australian Law Reform Commission making recommendations to stop it six years ago — reforms that were ignored by Government.

In January 2019, the issue came up again after we broadcast video footage of Terry Reeves, a man with dementia who was regularly tied to his chair with a lap belt — sometimes for a total of 14 hours a day — and heavily sedated with the anti-psychotic Risperidone.

His daughter Michelle McCulla gave evidence at the royal commission of other residents with dementia who were kept in a small room, strapped to their chairs like her father.

At the time, Garden View nursing home had a 100 per cent score from the regulator, the Quality and Safety Commission, but when it visited after our story, the nursing home failed over 75 per cent of standards.

The story was so shocking, then-aged care minister Ken Wyatt announced the Government would introduce new regulations on restraint.

The royal commission has already found elderly people are subjected to “unjustified clinical and physical restraints”.

In its final hearings last week, counsel assisting recommended new, stricter regulations and proposes that GPs no longer prescribe powerful antipsychotics unless a geriatrician or psychiatrist has consulted the resident and approved a prescription.

That’s likely because evidence shows GPs are often pressured by staff to prescribe such medication due to low staffing levels and a lack of dementia training.

Counsel assisting says civil suits could be laid against providers who breach these rules, which has angered advocates who say criminal charges should be laid instead due to the obstacles and cost of taking civil legal action against big providers.

As for our story on Mr Reeves — he died in August with his family saying: “He never came back 100 per cent.”

The Quality and Safety Commission found Garden View nursing home met all standards in October last year but has not conducted a full audit since then, with the home accredited until May next year due to the “exceptional circumstances” of COVID-19.

Home care: Endless waiting lists and high fees

Portrait of an elderly lady clutching her teddy.
Evelyn Micallef’s daughter and son-in-law care for her at home.(ABC News)

The home care waiting list has more than 100,000 people on it, with people waiting a year or more.

With COVID-19 causing indefinite restrictions on visits to nursing homes, home care is the preference for many elderly Australians and their families.

For that reason, counsel assisting proposes clearing the waiting list by the end of next year — a reform that will cost many billions of dollars.

And they suggest the disparity in funding of home care and residential care should end, with those staying at home given the same maximum amount of funding as if they were in a nursing home, which equates to about $60,000 a year.

However, counsel assisting shied away from the thorny issue of uncapped administration fees charged by home care providers, something we investigated last month.

Our story showed that the elderly had a large proportion of their home care subsidy taken in fees by home care providers.

Instead, counsel assisting is proposing standardised statements showing the monthly amount of money paid out and including fees and charges with consultants to assist in guiding aged Australians.

The final report to come in February

Many of the proposed reforms hinge on a new Aged Care Act to replace the one created by John Howard’s government in 1997, which opened aged care up to private enterprise and led to less staff, a deskilled workforce and a regulator that has been more about cutting red tape than investigating mistreatment and protecting the elderly.

Crucially, counsel assisting wants a new independent commission as the regulator, removed from any Federal Government influence.

It’s this reform that led to the highly unusual and public disagreement between the two commissioners last week, with Lynelle Briggs, a former Public Services Commissioner, labelling the proposal “extraordinary” and arguing in favour of maintaining the current regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, despite overwhelming evidence of its failures especially during the COVID outbreaks.

She says the commission could be bolstered to become the “tough cop on the beat” and a “one stop shop” — phrases used by Health Minister Greg Hunt when he announced the establishment of the Quality and Safety Commissioner in 2018.

Commissioner Tony Pagone, a former Federal Court judge, directly opposed her, lending support to the new proposal.

With no tie breaker on this one, we now have to wait until the final report in February next year to see which of the commissioners wins out and whether the aged care system really will be rebuilt again from the ground up.

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’50 sexual assaults a week’ in aged care


October 23, 2020 09:44:56

As many as 50 elderly people are sexually assaulted in aged care homes across the country each week. That was just one of the shocking revelations heard at the Royal Commission as the two year inquiry draws to a close, as Alison Branley reports.

Alison Branley

Source: ABC News
Duration: 1min 57sec











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Aged care royal commission hears past governments have failed to implement changes

Inquiries and reports into the state of aged care in Australia have often either not been acted on, or not acted on fully or quickly, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has heard.

Counsel assisting the royal commission on Friday made their final submissions at the end of the two-year inquiry.

The commission has heard successive Australian governments have shown a lack of willingness to commit to changes recommended by numerous inquiries into and reviews of aged care over more than 20 years.

Senior counsel assisting the inquiry Peter Gray QC told the commissioners implementation of change had been patchy.

“And when one reads those responses carefully, one sees that some of them only partially address recommendations, sometimes under the guise of some fanfare that the recommendation will be implemented.

“One needs to look very carefully at the detail, when it comes to government responses to recommendations of inquiries into aged care.”

Thousands of people have made submissions to the aged care royal commission, and it has heard reports of violence, abuse, neglect and malnourishment in Australian aged care homes.

The counsel assisting team has made 124 recommendations, including for new laws based on human rights principles for older people, mandated staffing ratios, an independent aged care commission and that wider enforcement powers be given to the aged care regulator.

“Our recommendations … call for sweeping reforms to the system in order to address what we have identified as pervasive systemic problems,” Mr Gray said.

Mr Gray said the people at the heart of the system — those receiving care, the aged care workforce and the close supporters of those receiving care — needed to be heard.

More staff needed

Sinikka Heikkila from Tasmania saw her parents’ health decline after they were each diagnosed with dementia.

Her father spent two months in an aged care home in Hobart, and her mother was later cared for in the same home for about 18 months, before she died in August.

Ms Heikkila said she was very happy with the care her parents received, but the former nurse said caring for people with dementia was challenging.

“I just felt that you need more staff in those areas,” she said.

Better standards for dealing with dementia was among the issues raised on Friday.

“Dementia is so important to … almost every aspect of our recommendations,” Mr Gray said.

Among the recommendations are tougher restrictions on the use of anti-psychotic medications.

Thousands of people have made submissions to the aged care royal commission.(ABC News: Nic MacBean)

“In the future, the system should never again be involved in, and the community should never be confronted by, this apparent resort to the use of anti-psychotics in the place of proper care,” Mr Gray said.

Broader powers for the regulator to crack down on non-compliant aged care providers have been recommended, along with pricing reforms and immediate funding for more staff training.

During Thursday’s hearing, it was revealed 50 people in residential aged care in Australia were sexually assaulted each week.

The commission heard that figure was the best estimate because some alleged assaults were not reported, such as those where the alleged perpetrator was a fellow resident and had a diagnosed cognitive or mental impairment and the aged care provider had put in place arrangements to manage the alleged perpetrator’s behaviour.

Dental scheme for seniors recommended

The commission also heard older people were far more likely to have poor oral health which had adverse consequences for their health and social lives.

The counsel assisting team has recommended a seniors’ dental benefits scheme be part of improved access to allied health services for older people.

A man wearing a suit stands and speaks in a court room
Senior counsel assisting the inquiry Peter Gray QC says there are “pervasive systemic problems” in the aged care sector.(ABC News)

Mr Gray said the scheme should also provide dental care for older people who are not in aged care but who cannot afford it.

The commissioners thanked all of the people who shared the stories as part of the inquiry.

“In a very real way, we have moved forward together and, counsel, I’m confident that we will change the landscape of aged care in Australia,” Commissioner Lynelle Briggs said.

“After two years of evidence, it’s clear to me that we have an underfunded system that demonstrably fails to meet community standards of health, personal care and sustenance for a generation of people who are used to just making do.

“The system is not good enough for them and it is unimaginable that future generations will stand for it as it is. It is unacceptable to us all.”

Mr Gray said the proposed recommendations would require careful planning and careful implementation over a lengthy period.

“This has to be done deliberately and with relevant safeguards and, we would say, also with reporting of progress,” he said.

The commission’s final report is expected in February.

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Aged care royal commission public split in the final days shows how controversial change will be

An extraordinary scene played out in the final hearings of the historic Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety yesterday.

It may have looked like a minor difference of opinion, but the public split between the two key people deciding the future for our elderly shows just how controversial real reform is going to be.

At 9:30am, counsel assisting, QCs Peter Gray and Peter Rozen, began detailing 124 recommendations they had made after spending two years examining more than 10,000 submissions, a comparable amount of government data and hearing some of the most heartbreaking stories of abuse, neglect and failures of regulation and governance.

It was their big day to put their far-reaching recommendations for reform before the royal commissioners, detailing how to transform a system which has been delivering substandard care for decades, but which successive governments have packaged as a privatised system of choice.

Ninety minutes in, counsel assisting Mr Gray had finished with his proposal for a new aged care act and the establishment of an independent aged care authority.

The current regulator — the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission — and the Department of Health have been roundly criticised at the royal commission for inadequacy and contributing to substandard care.

A new authority removed from the Government and Canberra would put the elderly first rather than worrying about the cost, according to the recommendation.

And that’s when things became interesting.

Independent regulator an ‘extraordinary proposal’, says commissioner

Lynelle Briggs, the first commissioner appointed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2018, spoke up, reading from a prepared statement.

“The independent commission that you describe in your submissions is quite an extraordinary proposal and, indeed, some might even call it courageous,” she said.

“I am yet to hear you present arguments, counsel, as to how the commission model will improve the quality and safety of care for older Australians, or how any such benefits would outweigh the very substantial costs and disruption involved in such a radical transformation of the Government’s administrative machinery.”

Next, it was the turn of the other commissioner, Tony Pagone, who assured those watching that “obviously those remarks are not intended to be a final decision by us” and that conversely he was inclined to support an independent aged care authority, adding that he didn’t agree with Ms Brigg’s description of “courageous” as “quite the right description” for the regulator.

For the two commissioners to disagree so vehemently with each other during the final hearing and for one of them to question counsel assisting is the equivalent of a bar brawl in royal commission terms.

Give Government another chance: Briggs

One of the concerns of Ms Briggs is the cost of setting up an independent authority and its accountability when it has no link to the Minister and the Department of Health.

Royal commissioner Lynelle Briggs at the first public hearing of the Royal Commission for Aged Care Quality and Safety in 2018.(AAP: Kelly Barnes)

She says she wants to give the Department of Health and the Government another chance to fix things up.

“I’ve detected over the last year, a growing determination among officials and in the Government to fix the problems of the aged care system and to pursue a genuine reform agenda,” Ms Briggs said.

The commissioner favours what has been done before, reforming the system while keeping the same people.

She described making the regulator more robust so it was really the “tough cop on the beat” and a “one-stop shop” for complaints — the same phrases used by Health Minister Greg Hunt back in 2018 when he established the very regulator that has been found to be so woefully inadequate at this royal commission.

Mr Pagone disagreed.

He referred to evidence earlier in the day to make his point about the Government’s overwhelming concern with the bottom line — a cabinet-in-confidence document from 1997 when the Howard government effectively privatised aged care, noting how the Government lauded its reform because it “has saved billions since its introduction and continues to do so”.

Mr Pagone said that document “did show what some might regard a rather cynical approach — when you have the combination of the people spending money with those guiding the money.”

He supports counsel assisting, who say putting the elderly first has to be done by an authority that is not worried about the cost and that means being independent of the Government.

Staff ratios and register proposed among tough reforms

There’s no doubt the ambitious reforms are a lot to take in.

Almost 25 years after the Howard government handed the aged care system over to market forces, counsel assisting have presented an ambitious blueprint for change which will please neither the Government nor the industry.

The recommendations include:

  • A new aged care act
  • Three-and-a-half hours of direct care per resident per day
  • Stopping GPs prescribing antipsychotics
  • More Indigenous staff
  • A public star rating system allowing families to compare nursing homes for quality and safety
  • More nurses
  • An aged care pricing authority to tell the Government how much needs to be spent on aged care rather than the Government deciding what the Budget can afford
  • Registering all carers
  • Clearing the home care waiting list by the end of next year.

Normally, the public worries whether the Government will adopt the recommendations of a final report of a royal commission.

In this instance, we’re left wondering what happens next when the Commissioners are clearly in dispute with each other about a major reform. And we won’t find out until February next year.


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