Person-centred care, a focus on prevention and integrated care and support are among the areas the aged care system needs to improve to ensure it is sustainable into the future.
That’s according to PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia senior manager in health economics and policy Tiffany Petre, who addressed a recent conference on aged care and ageing.
PwC Australia was commissioned by aged care provider Australian Unity to investigate and report on closing the social infrastructure gap in the current health and ageing system.
It found that the current system was not sustainable and should move to a model of client wellbeing rather than illness with a focus on system integration, illness prevention and consumer outcomes, Ms Petre said.
“There needs to be a system transformation to support the level of demand of the ageing population,” Ms Petre told the 4th International Conference for Long-Term Care Directors and Administrators in Sydney on Friday.
Current challenges include a disjointed health and aged care and support system for older Australians requiring multiple care services, workforce shortages, a reduction in informal care and quality of life of issues for aged care residents that can result in poor mental health, she said.
“We need to have a more holistic perspective to care risks, find a better way to attract and retain our workforce and shift from an illness perspective into understanding risks early for prevention,” Ms Petre said.
Currently there is also too much focus on efficiency and not enough on the quality of life, she said.
“Care is often designed to be efficient as opposed to what residents prefer or their personal choices. People don’t have control in their life and services aren’t necessarily what they want,” she said.
Ms Petre recommended the future aged care system model focus on:
1. Risk and outcomes: to identify the risk of people’s health as early as possible.
2. Person-centred care: designed around what residents’ value in care.
3. Access and equity: to ensure those in need of care can access it.
4. Effectiveness and efficiency: to minimise investment activities that don’t support outcomes.
5. Integrated care and support: to create a more coordinated and comprehensive system.
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