Aussies are ashamed of aged care facilities
Nursing homes are "sad places" where there is not much to do and staff have inadequate training.
That's the stark picture painted from Australian's perceptions of the aged care system, detailed in two research papers.
The Aged Care Royal Commission on Monday released the reports about people's attitudes to facilities.
"People think aged care facilities are sad places," one report states.
"The aged care staff are too busy. They are not paid much for the work they do.
"They need more training to care for older people."
The findings from market researcher Ipsos follow 35 focus groups and 30 in-depth interviews between July and September last year.
People also raised concerns that aged care facilities run by religious organisations were not welcoming to everyone.
The negative perceptions prompted Australians who were veterans, LGBTI and care leavers to say they would like to live with people who understood their experience, and their particular health needs.
A national survey of adults' views about Australians aged 70 and over, the aged care system and what they want if they go into care was also undertaken by Roy Morgan.
"Overall, the community's perception of life in residential aged care is very negative," it states.
"They think the residents are often lonely, do not have control over their lives and are not happy, but have access to medical care and are safe in comfortable, well maintained accommodation."
More than 10,000 people were interviewed via telephone between October 2019 and January 2020.
At least four in five adults surveyed had visited a residential aged care facility before.
Findings show these people tended to have slightly more positive perceptions than those who had never visited.
However they were "divided" about whether residents received adequate help, were respected, and had access to enough activities.
"The research confirms Australia's aged care system needs major reform in order to align with community expectations," Commissioners Tony Pagone, QC, and Lynelle Briggs said.
Nearly half of adults surveyed by Roy Morgan believed the government should be most responsible for enabling older Australians to live independently in their own homes through lower level support, such as help shopping and cleaning.
However when it comes to assistance dressing and using the bathroom, or higher level care, more than half believe the government should be most responsible.
The Federal Government last week announced 6000 additional low-level home care packages would be made available.
But Labor aged care spokeswoman Julie Collins said the announcement was inadequate and failed to meet the needs of older Australians who wanted to remain at home.
Peak aged care bodies have repeatedly called for more funding for home care packages, as well as funding support for providers in financial distress.
An independent study released last month by StewartBrown recommended $1.7 billion in residential funding reform to maintain care and improve training.