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The Aged Care Royal Comission is here. Our industry is experiencing an important period of change to make sure our loved ones are receiving the best possible care.

 

What is the Royal Commission into Aged Care?

The Royal Commission was established on 8 October 2018, to investigate the safety and quality of aged care. The ultimate goal to improve the health and wellbeing of elderly Australians in aged care.

Throughout the investigation process, The Royal Commission received:

  • 10,574 submissions
  • 6,800 telephone calls
  • And heard from 641 witnesses at hearings

 

When was the Final Report released?

The Final Report entitled ‘Care, Dignity and Respect’, was presented on Friday 26 February 2021. And tabled on 1 March 2021.

 

What is in the Final Report?

The over 2,000 page report outlines 148 recommendations designed to:

“Assist older people to live an active, self-determined and meaningful life in a safe and caring environment that allows for dignified living in old age”.

The Commission’s recommendations include:

  • Professionalising the aged care workforce through changes to education, training, wages, labour conditions and career progression.
  • Creating better quality and measurement reporting through developing and publishing a system of star ratings.
  • An immediate increase to the Basic Daily Fee.
  • Developing a new Aged Care Program combining the CHSP, home care and residential care.
  • Care that is based on need, not rationing.
  • A single streamlined process to accessing aged care services.

To read more about the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, you can find the Final Report here: https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/final-report.

 

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Five key recommendations from the final report

 

1. Introducing ‘care finders’ into the aged care journey

One of the recommendations of the final report was to introduce an easier way for older people to navigate the aged care process.

 

More specifically the Commissioners’ suggest that:

“A workforce of personal advisers to older people, their families and carers, called ‘care finders’, should be established. Care finders should assist older people and their carers to receive the information they need to engage with their local assessment team, approved providers, and aged care services and supports.”

The service Aged Care Decisions provides to families already offers this recommendation – helping families navigate the complex system of aged care.

Our free service starts right at the beginning of your journey into aged care. We’re aligned with the Royal Commission’s recommendation for a ‘single streamlined process for accessing services and providers’.

To receive help with the navigating the aged care journey all for free, fill out this form and we’ll happily get you started.

 

2. Developing a star rating system to compare aged care providers

As part of their recommendations for quality and measurement reporting, the report recommended that:

“The Australian Government should develop and publish a system of star ratings based on measurable indicators that allow older people and their families to make meaningful comparisons of the quality and safety performance of providers.”

Transparency through reviews and ratings is an important step to making meaningful changes in the world of aged care.

The Royal Commission also said:

“Using these benchmarks, the System Governor should track sector and provider performance and set progressive improvement targets to raise performance against quality indicators over time.”

With Aged Care Reviews, families have access to over 13,000 ratings and reviews of nursing homes, respite care and home care services. These reviews are based on the experiences of previous and current aged care residents and their families.

To review or write aged care reviews, visit https://agedcarereviews.com.au/.

 

3. Creating a more experienced aged care workforce

The commissioners recommended the professionalisation of aged care workers. This would include improved education and training to ensure workers are capable of performing high quality care.

In return, workers would be remunerated as per their skill, have enhanced work conditions and the opportunity to develop a career path.

An extremely positive and important part of this recommendation is that aged care workers can be rewarded for the extremely valuable work they do for our elderly loves ones.

Professionalising the aged care workforce also means that the most suitable candidates will want to join the aged care industry too.

 

4. Supporting older Australians to stay in their homes

The Royal Commission has revealed that more older Australians are wanting to remain in their own homes.

The Commissioners have subsequently made several recommendations to ensure that older people can live dignified lives… in the comfort of their own homes.

In response, Prime Minister Morrison has pledged funding to start providing approved home care packages to the 102,081 older Australians who have been on wait lists. The funding will also be used to conduct audits of home care providers and improve home care services.

 

5. Placing a greater emphasis on Dementia care

With an estimated 50% of aged care residents living with some form of dementia or related illness, the Royal Commission has recommended that it become a ‘compulsory educational requirement’ for aged care staff to be trained in dementia care.

The Commission also called for a review of Specialist Dementia Care Units, current and planned, to examine if they adequately address the needs of advanced dementia residents.

 

What happens now?

The Federal Government needs to meet a 31 May 2021 deadline, set by the Commissioners to report to Parliament on the Government response to the 148 recommendations.

On 1 March, following the report’s release, Prime Minister Morrison said the report provides the Government with what it needs to know to, “bring about the generational change that is needed”.

We are already seeing a positive response from Australian government.

Prime Minister Morrison has pledged $452.2 million to begin making improvements to our aged care system.

This pledge is proposed to cover for four main areas of aged care quality, including:

  • home care
  • residential aged care
  • the aged care workforce
  • and aged care governance

 

What is the timeframe for these changes in aged care?

The Commissioners have outlined a five-year timeframe for providing a significant transformation in the aged care sector.

 

To learn more about how you might be affected by the Royal Commission or to start your aged care journey, please get in touch with our aged care specialists.

You can call us on 1300 775 870 or fill out this form and we will get in touch.

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