Royal Commission Into Aged Care Quality and Safety - Final Report
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
A Change Is On Its Way!
Reading through the 148 recommendations of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety tabled in Federal Parliament last Monday 1 March 2021, saw me ticking off recommendations that were the very reason why I started DR Care Solutions back in 2015.
The current system is too complex to navigate for older Australians and the care services provided by operators is variable, and substandard in some cases.
Aged care is a personal service
While the Federal Government has tried extremely hard to make the system easier and to safeguard quality care, aged care remains a very personal and individual experience requiring face-to-face contact, respect, compassion and keen listening skills.
Every Australian, no matter their health journey, deserves decent care and dignity as they age.
The two Royal Commissioners behind the report, Commissioner Tony Pagone QC and Commissioner Lynelle Briggs AO, recommend a complete overhaul of the aged care system.
Setting the right culture for personal service
It commences with the replacement of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) to ensure the system is based on a culture of universal entitlement of respect and quality care towards Australians, rather than one geared around care service providers.
Reading through the report, it is clear the Royal Commissioners seek a culture that warmly opens its arms to all older Australians and personally asks,
"What care do you need to live a decent life as you age?" and responds with,
"Here's our system of high quality and safe care that is tailored to your needs for you to live that life," and,
"You can access this care immediately."
Further, "We (the Federal Government) will pay for the quality care if you cannot afford it, or subsidise it if you can afford to contribute."
It all sounds pretty simple but coming up with a roadmap to achieve such a culture has taken the two Royal Commissioners more than two years, and a 3,000 page report with 148 recommendations.
Differing Commissioner views
What has surprised everyone is that the Commissioners don't agree with each other on all the recommendations. This just goes to show the complexity of the subject!
While some commentators have criticised the Commissioners for this, I feel the differing views will further raise the profile of aged care in Parliament, draw deeper discussion amongst all parliamentarians, and deliver a greater commitment to finding the best solution.
Addressing more immediate problems
On tabling the report, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced additional funding of $452.2M to address immediate concerns arising from the report.
The funding will deliver:
- Increased oversight of in-home care delivery;
- Greater governance within residential care facilities to address the use of physical and chemical restraints;
- Financial support to protect the viability of certain residential care facilities;
- Investment in building our personal care workforce; and
- A new position within the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission dedicated to more transparency, accountability and oversight of the sector.
Response to wish list by 31 May 2021
Back to the 148 recommendations of the final report, the Royal Commissioners have asked the Australian Government to deliver its response to their report to Parliament by 31 May 2021.
In the meantime, the recommendations remain a wish list and we await the release of the 2021 Federal Budget, usually released on the second Tuesday of the month of May, to hear of the Federal Government's allocation of funding to age care sector reform, and the supported recommendations.
So the bets are on. In next week's blog, I will list some of the recommendations I would like to see funded in the coming Federal Budget.
If you find the aged care system complex and seek assistance on choosing quality care providers, please feel free to contact me, Danielle Robertson at DR Care Solutions, for an initial discussion. I am here to help explain the system and how to set up the right care, support and assistance for you or your loved one, at the right time and in the right place.