The findings of the Aged Care Royal commission were stark and clear – more funding, better care and greater respect were needed to support our ageing population.
The release this March of the final 340-page report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Care, Dignity and Respect, recommended a five-year overhaul of the system to provide services as they were needed.
Shortly after the findings were released, the Australian Government committed $17.7 billion over the next five years to boost the system.
This includes greater access to Home Care Packages so you can receive more support to stay in your home, as well as more nursing and personal support care time in Residential Aged Care.
Here is what you need to know about the Aged Care Royal Commission, and what it means for you.
What the Royal Commission into Aged Care discovered
- The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found significant cases of “substandard” care
- Home Care Package funding took too long for some people
- There was widespread concern about the findings
The inquiry ran for two years and received more than 10,000 submissions from people, organisations and companies across the country.
It discovered the existing Aged Care industry had delivered “substandard” care to 30 per cent of the people meant to be receiving that care.
This included safety breaches, assaults, excessive use of medication for control and neglect that saw people left unattended for long periods or without access to continence aids.
For Home Care, people were waiting so long for assistance, they were becoming sick or even dying without the care they needed.
Everyone, from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison to nurses and the Aged Care industry representatives, said this was unacceptable.
Recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Commission final report
- The Aged Care inquiry recommended needs-based funding
- It also said funding, standards and regulation should be improved
- New quality measures include more nursing time in Residential Aged Care and more audits
The inquiry’s final report laid out a path to improve these care outcomes and improve the quality and safety of older Australians.
This included new laws for the industry, improving the safety measures expected from Residential Aged Care and Home Care, increased regulations on staff training, registration and medication use, and a public rating system for Aged Care services.
New quality measures were also recommended, including at least one registered nurse onsite day and night in residential care homes by 2024, as well as 40 minutes of care by a registered nurse and 200 minutes of personal care each day by next year.
Spot checks and audits of the centres and home care providers were also among the 148 recommendations.
What is happening now in Aged Care to make sure it is safe and of good quality?
- An additional $17.7 billion in funding over five years was announced
- Another 80,000 Home Care Packages were released
- Residential Aged Care providers will receive more money per person per day
After the Royal Commission released its findings, the Australian Government announced a multibillion-dollar package to improve access, quality and safety for all services.
The aim is to move from the previous system where you could only access supports to a set amount of funding, to the future system where you will be able to get the services you need when you need them.
Changes are happening. Another 80,000 Home Care Packages were made available, with extra audits for the services and more training and regulation.
In three years’ time it is expected there will be more than 275,000 Home Care Packages available. This was an increase from fewer than 60,000 a decade ago.
Residential Aged Care providers also got more funding per resident each day, but they had to prove that money was going to necessities such as food and care.
How to find quality aged care services?
- You can find high-quality Aged Care services across the country
- Start the process by being assessed for a Home Care Package
- Supports can help you stay in your own home
There are some excellent Aged Care service providers in Australia. For many people, the first step is being assessed for a Home Care Package. These services can help you live well and remain in the comfort of your own home.
Home Care supports can include personal care, to get you up and out and about in the morning, to help with cooking and cleaning, or in the garden.
It can also extend to home modifications to allow safer access to your shower or bath, or even to create more liveable spaces around the house.
With the recent additional funding, there are more packages available than ever before and providers who can help you.
And when it is Residential Aged Care facilities you’re looking for, there are some great homes where care is the key consideration.