Aged Care Industry Trends so far in 2019

With the benefit of making hundreds of resident placements a month across Australia, the team at Aged Care Decisions have a unique perspective to observe broader trends across the aged care industry.

With every newsletter we shall be sharing some of the insights that we have observed that may be of interest and relevance to providers.

 

Responsiveness – The Key Deciding Factor

Our team are regularly asked by providers what more they can be doing to increase the proportion of tours and placement introductions that turn into placements. This, in turn, is really a question about what can providers tangibly be doing to improve their prospects of a placement.

Some time ago, in conjunction with Apia Insurance, we published research that showed location was the number one decision making factor for families. The second most important was the tour experience – which ranked far ahead of building quality, RAD prices or even personal recommendation.

Within a given area, the key differentiating factor is the tour experience.  This backs up what our own placement data, and direct feedback from families, which is once they have toured a facility that they are reasonably happy with, they will largely settle on that facility. For providers, the key factor is quite simple – being one of the first facilities toured.

This, in turn, is about responsiveness to the initial enquiry, or placement introduction. Our data shows a clear trend – where a facility is the first to respond to a placement introduction, and invite a family on a tour, they will be statistically far more likely to secure that placement. The effect is most dramatic where a provider can respond within hours, or on the same day.

Key Insight: Responding to a placement introduction within hours, or within the same day, has a dramatic effect on the likelihood of securing a placement.

 

Respite Utilisation

The previous 2-3 months have seen a greater than normal spike in the number of respite placements occurring. Part of this has been driven by families, who are wanting to ‘trial’ a facility in greater numbers. This is also being driven by providers, who, in some instances, are wanting to utilise the full financial year’s respite entitlement prior to 1 July.

Key Insight: While it is difficult to establish a statistical connection, the Royal Commission seems to be having a short-term effect on how comfortable families are with permanent placement.

 

Respite Approvals & ACATs

Looking nationally our team have noticed dramatic differences in the approach of ACAT teams between states.

In some instances, ACAT teams within a metro city seem to have a policy of never approving a client for respite (either high or low) if they are being assessed in a hospital. This policy does not appear to be applied in other states or metro cities. This has caused significant confusion for clients & families – particularly where a potential resident is resistive to the notion of permanent placement but still has a high level of cognition.

Key Insight: Different rules, or application of rules, as it pertains to care approvals by ACATs is causing confusion, and potential harm, for families.

 

Families Operating Remotely

As Australia’s only truly integrated national aged care placement service, our team are assisting an increasing number of families who are looking to place a loved one into care but are doing so from a different state. Our data shows that these potential residents are more likely to be RAD payers.

Such scenarios cause difficulties when it comes to organising tours – as family members are only able to arrange travel interstate on a weekend given their other work commitments. From our perspective we have noticed some difficulties with providers ensuring the relevant staff are available on a weekend in order to provide a superior tour experience.

Key Insight: Providers need to think about how tours can be booked, and conducted, on weekends and after hours. This may result in training of multiple staff in conducting tours or having flexible arrangements with key staff to ensure tours can occur on weekends. It may also indicate the need to consider the sales & marketing function in a 24/7 prism, rather than as a business hours function.