Aged care reform delivery a year after Aged Care Royal Commission
One year since the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Federal Government has effected reform across the five pillars of its five year plan.
The Government's five pillars for aged care are:
- Home care;
- Residential aged care services and sustanability;
- Residential aged care quality and safety;
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the Government called the Royal Commission because it recognised change was needed.
Changes introduced subsequent to the Royal Commission's report include:
- More than $18.3 billion to fund this agenda for change across home care, residential care, quality and safety, workforce and governance;
- A five year plan to respond to response to all 148 recommendations in the commission's report;
- Establishment of the National Aged Care Advisory Group and the Council of Elders;
- Beginning of a roll-out of in-person help at many Services Australia centres, local care finders, a regional network pilot, and a program to better connect culturally and linguistically diverse seniors, families and carers;
- More than 33,000 extra training places have been created for people who want to work in aged care, and 191 registered nurses have joined the new Aged Care Transition to Practice Program;
- The award of 115 scholarships to increase the knowledge and skills of nurses working in aged care;
- Introduction of the Aged Care Registered Nurses’ Payment;
- At the end of 2021, 217,724 senior Australians had access to a home care package -after the rollout of the first of the 80,000 packages;
- The waiting list has come down by 29 per cent and for those assessed as a high priority receiving a package within a month;
- Residential aged care providers are receiving extra funding of $10 per resident per day to improve care and services, especially food and nutrition, and must report care staffing minutes spent;
- Introduction of the Serious Incident Reporting Scheme, electronic medication charts, improved quality indicators to ensure that restrictive practices can only be used as a last resort;
- Establishment of a new Workforce Advisory Service to support providers, which provides free, independent and confidential help with workforce planning;
- Provision of more than $100 million in funding to support nearly 200 residential aged care providers to improve their financial viability through the Business Improvement Fund.
Further measures to support the sustainability of the sector currently before Parliament (The Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment Royal Commission Response Bill.2) include:
- The introduction of the funding model for aged care, the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) will be introduced from 1 October 2022 and will deliver funding to increase the amount of front line care to residents. The AN ACC will deliver more than $3.9 billion in increased funding to rural and remote residential aged care services, as well as specialised homeless and remote Indigenous services, to reflect the increased costs of delivering care in these services;
- A registration scheme which will provide a nationally consistent pre-employment screening for aged care workers of approved providers to replace existing police checking obligations; and
- An expansion of the Serious Incident Response Scheme to home and flexible care from 1 July 2022.
The expanded Independent Hospital Pricing Authority has also commenced work on aged care pricing with recommendations to be made to Government for the 2023-24 Budget.
The next stage of the reforms is underway including the draft legislation of a new Aged Care Act; quality of life indicators; the new support at home program; innovative, dementia-friendly accommodation design; and dementia education and training.
For more information and to engage in the design of upcoming changes, visit the Aged Care Engagement Hub at www.agedcareengagement.health.gov.au or call 1800 200 422.
See also "One year since the Royal Commission, aged care sector calls on parties to take action on workforce" from Aged & Community Services Australia at https://www.acsa.asn.au/Media/2022/One-year-since-the-Royal-Commission-aged-care
27 February 2022.
Updated 1 March 2022.