The aged care industry is rapidly changing within Australia, as both resident numbers continue to climb and the regulatory environment evolves in response. Further changes are a certainty in the near future with the rising expectations and growing wealth of the aged Australian population.
If the industry is to remain successful over this turbulent period, it's important for care providers to understand what's led the industry to its current place, and how to best effect change in the future.
Prior to the reforms put in place in 2012, the previous decades had seen reforms focused on a number of different areas, which have been briefly outlined below.
- The introduction of service provision targets, specifically based on population. These were designed to ensure services expanded in line with growth in the ageing Australian population.
- Integrating the separate hostel and nursing home systems.
- Putting in place income-based testing for residential care contributions.
- The expansion of community aged care services and programs.
Arguably, the biggest change was the increased focus on regulations designed to ensure quality care and adequate consumer protections. Changes here included accreditation and accreditation standards, a national complaints scheme and regulation of accommodation bonds and building standards.
An update released by Catholic Health Australia explained that the 2012 reforms will bring future changes, leading eventually to increases in consumer choice and control over services and helping to effect "consumerism in aged care".
The aged care sector will of course continue to evolve over the next few decades, especially as population continues to age. The increased wealth and higher care expectations will certainly impact facilities, and drive aged care providers to ensure a high level of care is in place.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities for success in the aged care industry today? Please contact us and let us know!