Australia has progressed in many areas when it comes to healthcare, but chronic diseases are increasingly becoming an issue. With the aged care sector continuing to grow, residents entering care with chronic diseases will require higher levels of care.
Of course, this will translate into further efforts being required on the part of aged care providers, as they'll need to source specialists able to handle a variety of diseases.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report titled 'Australia's health 2014' was released on 25 June by federal Health Minister Peter Dutton.
The report found chronic diseases to be the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia. In 2011 alone, they accounted for 90 per cent of all deaths.
AIHW Director and CEO David Kalisch explained both sides of the current state of Australian health, and the causes for the majority of chronic diseases.
"On the positive side our report shows that we have increasingly longer life expectancy, lower death rates for cancer and many other diseases, and a health system that people say they are mostly happy with," he explained.
"On the 'room for improvement' side, we see that Australians are increasingly living with ongoing or 'chronic' diseases and their risk factors – which are related to our ageing population as well as to lifestyles and health habits."
Life expectancy is high in Australia, however, with the country ranked among the top nations in the world.
"An extra piece of good news is that almost all of the extra 4 years gained since the late 1990s have been disability-free years," Mr Kalisch said.
Providers will certainly need to prepare for the growth of chronic diseases by hiring staff with the appropriate skill sets. Whether dementia, arthritis or diabetes, taking on aged care workers capable of administering the necessary levels of care will become increasingly important.