We will chart a new direction for the sector, bringing a clear sense of purpose and of quality, and a renewed focus on compassion and kindness.
Ten months after its inquiry commenced, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released its Interim Report. The report promises an overhaul of Australia’s aged care system, in terms of its design, objectives, regulation and funding.
Entitled “Neglect”, the three-volume, 780-page document offers a confronting insight into an aged care system which is described as “woefully inadequate” and which too often fails to meet the needs of older people.
Although the report makes no recommendations – saving those for the Final Report due in November – it highlights what the Commission has learned so far. Key themes include:
- A highly critical assessment of the sector’s administration. In particular, the Interim Report stresses the importance of avoiding further piece-meal, limited interventions in favour of a holistic approach to longer-term, structural reform.
- An urgent need to expand access to home care funding, to help older Australians age in their own homes. The report acknowledges that any expansion must be done in a considered and controlled way.
Moving to eliminate the waiting list may be the obvious way to reduce waiting times for home care. However, the capacity of the sector to grow so rapidly to meet demand, without risking quality, has been questioned. Concerns about quality and capacity associated with the rapidly increasing home care market are highlighted.
- A need to improve residential care access and resident experience. Our systems must offer better access to helpful information about local services, including the quality of those services. Once in residential care, we must find ways to ensure a better experience for residents. Central to this is a focus on “meeting the needs of people in care, respecting their rights, and building good relationships with them.”
The full set of recommendations will be detailed in the Final Report, due in November.