Redressing neglect and abuse of people living with dementia in residential aged care
Neglect and abuse of people living with dementia is a systemic problem in residential aged care. It inflicts significant harm on victims/survivors, care partners/families/friends and the broader dementia community. Those affected have been unable to access justice, or healing and closure through the courts. While stopping future neglect and abuse requires reform of legal, regulatory, and funding frameworks, these reforms do not ‘redress’ in the sense of setting right or fixing the wrongs of past neglect and abuse. Redress practices beyond individual court action (e.g. compensation and psychosocial support, memorials, national apologies, community education) create individual and community benefit by delivering financial, legal and community recognition of experiences through appropriate exposure and analysis of past wrongdoing. It is vital redress is considered by the Disability Royal Commission moving forward. This action research project will explore the need for redress through interviews and focus groups with people living with dementia, care partners/families/close friends and lawyers/advocates. Recommendations will be shared with the Disability Royal Commission, dementia community, government, aged care sector, advocacy organisations and professional associations. Anticipated benefits include a redress framework that can facilitate justice, healing and enhanced wellbeing for victim/survivors and the dementia community, and education and advancement of protections within future aged care and legal systems.
Dr Steele is a Senior lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney