The shame of the aged-care scandal has exposed an awful human rights issue in Australia.
As a First World country, we often look overseas and feel the pain of people living under harsh regimes.
It's absurd, then, to be reminded that some of the most vulnerable people in our own backyard are being severely mistreated in a system lacking kindness.
The royal commission into aged care has exposed this shocking truth for all to see.
The commission's interim report into the sector, released last Thursday, outlined a "shocking tale of neglect".
Jayne Carter, of Port Stephens, is one of many across the country to have shared her story about the sector.
She previously told the Newcastle Herald that her mother was found with maggots in her mouth the day before she died at a Raymond Terrace nursing home.
Ms Carter has made some insightful comments about one of the sources of the problem. She said the sector needed workers who are proud to be doing such work, so it's "not something they are doing because it's all they could get".
Staff in the sector have generally been described as underpaid, undervalued, under pressure and insufficiently trained.
While the sector undoubtedly has dedicated and committed workers, sometimes this isn't enough when workplace culture - corporate or otherwise - has become mired in toxic apathy and predicaments that aren't easily solved.
Of course, the wellbeing of our senior citizens in nursing homes is at the forefront of this matter. No one wants to see their parents, grandparents or great grandparents mistreated in the latter stages of their lives.
In a shocking example of profit over people, the inquiry found the aged-care system was based around "transactions" rather than care.
Aged-care providers were slammed in the report, with some who appeared before the commission labelled "defensive and occasionally belligerent in their ignorance of what is happening in the facilities".
The federal government spends $18 billion on the aged-care system, but the commission found a fundamental overhaul of the design, objectives, regulation and funding was needed.
Focus has turned to the pressing need for a $2.5 billion funding injection to provide more home-care packages to deal with a waiting list of 120,000 people. About 16,000 people died last year while waiting for such packages. Those needing the highest level of care waited an average 22 months.
The baby boomers are starting to turn 75, signalling the much-anticipated growth in aged care that will last for at least 20 years.
Innovative thinking and empathetic entrepreneurs - as well as smarter action from governments - will be needed to overhaul a sector that the royal commission has found to be entangled in disgrace.
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