Aged Care Reform Now (ACRN) has announced that Sarah Holland-Batt, an acclaimed poet, academic, and advocate, has joined their organisation as its Patron.
Renowned for her literary achievements, Ms Holland-Batt has received numerous accolades, including the prestigious 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry. She has also been honoured with The Australian 2022 Book of the Year Award and the 2023 Stella Prize for Poetry for her exceptional collection of poems, “The Jaguar.” Through this collection, she delves into the life and decline of her father, who tragically passed away from Parkinson’s disease. Her firsthand experience of witnessing her father’s mistreatment within the Australian aged care system prompted her to submit concerns to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and become an ardent advocate for comprehensive reform.
Ms Holland-Batt has emerged as a powerful voice for vulnerable and isolated older Australians who are currently navigating the aged care system and has a wide audience.
In her new role as Patron of ACRN, Ms Holland-Batt will join forces with a grassroots advocacy group comprising dedicated community members who have common concerns with respect to aged care quality and a desire to advocate for the collective well-being of older Australians.
Since its establishment in 2021, ACRN has actively engaged in making submissions to the Royal Commission and the Department of Health. Additionally, they have lodged formal complaints with various aged care facilities, as well as the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) and the ACQSC Health and Disability Services Complaints Office. Members of ACRN have met with numerous politicians, media representatives, and bureaucrats, campaigning for a higher standard of care in aged care, the establishment of enforceable legal rights for residents and home care recipients, and increased accountability within the sector.
ACRN collaborated with Ms Holland-Batt during the Roundtable on Aged Care, hosted by Greens Senator Janet Rice earlier this year. The event brought together around 30 aged care advocates at Parliament House in Canberra to discuss what a human rights-based Aged Care Act should include and the changes advocates believe are needed to enshrine a high standard of care into the Aged Care Act.