A Royal Commission into the aged care sector was announced by the Australian Government on Sunday 16 September.
The Royal Commission will primarily look at the quality of care provided in residential and home aged care to senior Australians. It will also include young Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care settings.
The Government is seeking your feedback to develop the detailed Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission. Comments are open to members of the community, including residents and their families and aged care providers and aged care workers. Consultation on the terms of reference is open until Tuesday 25 September.
It is expected to include:
- The quality of aged care provided to older Australians, and the extent of substandard care;
- The challenge of providing care to Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care, particularly younger people with disabilities;
- The challenge of supporting the increasing number of Australians suffering dementia and addressing their care needs as they age;
- The future challenges and opportunities for delivering aged care services in the context of changing demographics, including in remote, rural and regional Australia;
- Any other matters that the Royal Commission considers necessary.
We'll follow these developments and keep you updated.
It's important to recognise the distinction between the retirement living sector and aged care services:
1. Retirement villages and over 50's living, which offers various types of accommodation designed for people to live independently, and which is regulated by state governments; and
2. Aged care services, which are funded and regulated by the Federal Government.
Less than 5% of visitors to our websites are actively searching for aged care - there has been a significant shift in the past few years, so aged care facilities mainly now cater for end of life care, more like a hospice. People enter an aged care facility much later in life, and their stay in an aged care facility is now much shorter. Aged care is considered a service of last resort for those who can no longer be adequately supported in a home based setting.
The ageing population is now seeing older people who are fitter and more active for longer, with a much better quality of life. Home Care services have increased in popularity, along with a shift in government funding priorities, and so people can expect to live a longer and healthier life in their own home.
There are still many questions about the adequacy of access to government subsidised support services for all those who need them, and the financial cost to government and the community of a rapidly ageing population. Other countries are also facing the same challenges, and it's always helpful to consider alternative approaches.
It will be interesting to see if the Royal Commission considers these broader issues and context for the funding and management of aged care facilities and home care services in Australia. This is perhaps an opportunity to clearly recognise the scale of need and the funding measures required in coming years - and address the challenge head on.
More to come...