There’s a rapidly widening gap within Australia, as the number of people over the age of 65 grows ever larger. This means a significant amount of pressure placed on the aged care sector to deliver appropriate accommodation and specialised care options.
However, the multitude of providers within Australia aren’t being left out in the cold – the Australian government is taking action to ensure that progressive waves of reforms are rolled out over the next few years to address shortcomings.
These, along with new aged care rules, will likely play a critical role in the sector as it continues to develop at a whirlwind pace.
Continuous government reforms
According to the Department of Social Services, more than one million people currently receive aged care services within Australia, and over half of these receive care at home. In addition, there are roughly 2.7 million carers and 350,000 staff delivering the needed services.
“The Australian Government is committed to providing a sustainable system that supports older people who need care. Australia’s population is ageing rapidly and our current aged care system needs to change to keep up with future demand,” the website explained.
As a result, reforms are taking place, and will continue to take place for some time. These include changes to home care, the Commonwealth Home Support Program, quality indicators and residential care.
The government has also implemented two bodies designed to provide advice to government on a range of matters in aged care – the Aged Care Sector Committee and the Aged Care Financing Authority.
IGR highlights need for reform
A new intergenerational report (IGR) has also come forward about the need for reform in aged care, specifically around structural policies that go beyond “election cycles and partisan politics”.
In a LASA release posted early in March 2015, the organisation explained that while reform has already begun, the government and industry at large cannot slow down with regards to reform.
“While much of the analysis in the IGR is not unexpected what we did take away was the overwhelming need for Australians of all ages to discuss ageing as a normal part of our lives that will require investment and innovation particularly in the critical area of technology,” LASA CEO Patrick Reid explained.
“Age services is currently under invested in technology and the productivity yield from modest government investment will be much greater than the sum of its parts.”
Technology can play a critical role in the aged care sector, helping to relive staffing pressures and offer more innovative types of care. For example, Japanese efforts in this space have yielded extremely positive results.
Mr Reid went on to outline how it was critical to manage the expectations of those Australians requiring aged care services, likely as demand continues to ramp up. What’s more, he noted that it was also necessary to inform younger generations of funding implications.
“In order to maximise this effort industry needs government to be a meaningful partner and commit to implementing further reforms and lead Australia to a contestable aged care market in order to meet demand while living within our means.”
Continuous reform will play a critical role in the aged care sector, as it does in many other burgeoning industries. By improving the state of care for all Australians, implementing fairer testing for payments and developing a stronger workforce, the Australian aged care sector will stand a far better chance of dealing with the massive population changes.
Of course, it’s also important for providers within the sector to start thinking about using financial tools like the capable ACFI Calculator.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities for success in the aged care industry today? Please contact us and let us know!