The Royal Commission into Aged Quality and Safety is in its early stages. In my presentation to the Commission in Adelaide on the 21st of March, I was asked to outline concerns with Australian aged care and potential solutions. Here is the high level summary of my evidence.
Australian aged care policy does not focus enough on rights and outcomes for older people. Nor do we spend enough to meet the reasonable and necessary needs of older Australians. We over-emphasize spending control to the detriment of service access, quality and outcomes. Access to home care is now particularly a problem and there are significant concerns about the quality of services people receive. Over time, the planning, organisation and management of aged care has become overly centralised by the Commonwealth. The result has been administrative complexity and inefficiency for consumers and service providers and an inability develop effective locally responsive aged care service systems.
Australian aged care should focus more on outcomes and rights for older people. Adequate funding to provide reasonable and necessary support should be provided. Funding should be more portable across accommodation options and tied to service plans. Access to services should be streamlined and assessment, planning, support and coordination should be integrated. Localised system management should be put in place to fill gaps, manage performance and quality and make sure different parts of the service system work together.