Australia under-prepared for radical changes to aged care, researchers warn

Australia is under-prepared for a radical change to the way residential aged care services will be funded by the Commonwealth Government in the near future. 

16 June 2017 General Interest

Australia is under-prepared for a radical change to the way residential aged care services will be funded by the Commonwealth Government in the near future, researchers from ACU’s Institute forHealth and Ageing warned at an event in Canberra today.

It is expected that older Australians receiving Commonwealth assistance will be increasingly empowered to make decisions about how they spent it, moving away from a historical funding system that allocated funding to aged care providers.

According to the report Older and Wiser: Putting the Consumer's Voice at the Centre of Residential
Aged Care, launched today by Hon. Ken Wyatt, Minister for Aged Care, the shift toward Consumer
Directed Care (CDC) poses significant challenges for older Australians and the residential aged care
sector.

Based on a study which explored the impact of CDC on six aged care facilities in Melbourne, the
report highlights what more needs to be done to support this dramatic change to aged care services
in Australia. This includes:

  • greater workforce training,
  • job restructuring,
  • greater empowerment of residential aged care facility workers, and
  • strong leadership by managers of residential aged care facilities.

A report on the study, Older and Wiser: Putting the Consumer's Voice at the Centre of Residential
Aged Care, was launched today at an event in Parliament House in Canberra on 14 June. Speaking
ahead of the launch, ACU’s Institute for Health and Ageing Director Professor Marita McCabe said
consumer directed care was an opportunity to better meet the needs of older Australians but more
planning and preparation was needed.

“Australia needs a residential aged care sector that can better tailor services to meet the individual
needs of older people,” Professor McCabe said.

“With an estimated 76,000 new residential aged care facilities required by 2023-24, it’s important
change happens now to ensure the aged care sector is prepared for the ‘silver tsunami’.

“However, in order for this important shift to be successful there needs to be more support from
government and industry for greater workforce training as well as education for older Australians
and their families who are making decisions about residential aged care.”

For a full copy of the report, go to: http://iha.acu.edu.au/wpcontent/
uploads/sites/3/2015/10/IHA-CDC-Report-2017.pdf

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