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The recent Federal Budget
As expected, aged care received a lot of attention in this year’s budget, and given the Royal Commission’s draft of recommendations handed down in March, many experts would say rightly so.
Our article following the Royal Commission’s recommendations highlighted the need for a consumer centric approach to aged care, and one that requires a significant cultural shift for aged care providers and the sector as a whole. The budget put forward is focused on improving the quality and safety of those in aged care which certainly supports a more consumer centric approach.
However, the question remains, did the budget measures go far enough to address the needs of the aged care sector?
What did the Government announce for Aged Care?
The Royal Commission suggested that the sector was underfunded by the likes of $10 billion per year.
The Government has proposed it will provide $17.7 billion over 5 years to fund the improvement of safety, quality and availability of aged care services, as a whole-of-government response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The measures go some way to putting the consumer first, and strengthening and upskilling the workforce, however, it appears there will still be a significant gap in what’s required.
- 80,000 additional home care packages to be provided over the next 2 years
- Aged care staff to provide 3 hours and 20 minutes of care to every resident, with at least 40 minutes of that time with a registered nurse
- $652 million committed to growing and upskilling the aged care workforce, with incentives for registered nurses to stay longer with employers, more scholarships and training, and an additional 33,000 training places to add new workers to the workforce
- The introduction of a new star rating system on the My Aged Care website for easier comparisons on provider quality, safety and performance
- A nationally consistent approach to screening, registration and code of conduct for all care workers
“There’s a whole lot of workforce provisions designed to strengthen the workforce, so we are doing our best to ensure that Australians in aged care get the highest quality service and of course can do so in a safe manner.”
– Josh Frydenberg
What do the changes mean for Aged Care providers?
The Government, including Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck will lead the aged care reform agenda but will “rely on support from the aged care sector, providers and workforce to embrace and embed these changes, creating a better system within their business and their work”, the ministers said yesterday.
While these reforms will help create some systemic change, more will be required by aged care providers to support the consumer centric approach which is so desperately needed.
It will be essential for providers to measure and understand consumer needs on an ongoing basis and to ensure they are creating and reinforcing a culture aligned to consumer needs. This is what will provide a sense of being listened to and cared for by consumers in the sector.
Christie is an organisational psychologist with 16 years’ experience in research, surveys and organisational consulting. Christie partners with clients to assist them in better understanding their stakeholders (employees, customers, clients or members) through insights derived from surveys, consulting and research. Christie works with client organisations predominantly in the health, education and community services sector. She is passionate about providing insights to help her clients with organisational problems and ultimately inspiring them to achieve their organisational goals.