ALARM announces Royal Commissioner as Patron to support access to justice for aged care residents

The Honorable Tony Pagone QC, former Federal Court Judge and one of the Royal Commissioners into Aged Care Quality and Safety, has been appointed to the position of Patron for community legal support organisation, ALARM.

ALARM is a not-for-profit organisation addressing the failings in aged care facilities identified by the Royal Commission by supporting residents of aged care, and their families and friends, by educating them and the broader community about their legal rights and providing access to lawyers with the right expertise and appropriate skills to deal with their issues.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to act as patron to ALARM, an organisation addressing the inadequacies identified by the Royal Commission and contributing to the reform of the aged care sector by ensuring Australia’s most vulnerable people have access to legal support and services.” Mr Pagone said.

ALARM chair Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC (Victorian Bar, retired) said elderly people who have suffered financial, emotional or physical abuse in aged-care facilities often require legal assistance, which ALARM is facilitating through its referral services.

“Residents of aged care facilities often feel vulnerable and need support to determine their legal rights. Many residents are unlikely or unable to complain about abusive practices due to a range of factors, including fear of retribution from their provider or diminished capacity.

The legal community has an important role to play in enforcing aged care residents’ legal rights in Australia. ALARM provides a critical role in seeking to ensure that Australia’s most vulnerable can access the legal support they need,” he said.

“We are delighted to welcome Mr Pagone to ALARM,  “He will take on the important role of patron to a dedicated cohort of volunteer students, lawyers, law firms and academics working together through ALARM to eliminate the unacceptable levels of neglect, and improve accountability and governance in aged care.” Dr Keon-Cohen said.

Dr Keon-Cohen said it was critical that the Federal Government consult with ALARM, and other similar advocacy groups, to reform the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth), consistent with the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

“ALARM has the depth of experience and expertise to actively participate in drafting necessary reforms and is seeking representation in government law reform processes now underway,” Dr Keon-Cohen said.

“In particular, our immediate concern is to ensure common sense reforms related to unacceptable staff training and remuneration, and residents’ nutrition, are implemented urgently.”

For media interviews contact: President: Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen, P: 0421 172 557; Vice-President: Sue Williamson, P: 0411 646 783