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Commission paper finds sector needs to be able to act more flexibly

The royal commission has released a research paper highlighting the immediate and long-term pressures on the aged care system ahead of next week’s public hearings in Sydney.

The 37-page paper Medium- and long-term pressures on the system: the changing demographics and dynamics of aged care was released on Wednesday and is the second background paper from the commission to date.

It finds that the total supply of care will need to increase with large absolute rises in the level of provision in each part of the aged care spectrum.

“At the same time, the structure of supply will need to shift, with larger increases in community care on the one hand and high-level care on the other,” the paper found.

The sector will also need to act more flexibly so that it can ensure care is focused on the individual and with it provide a broader range of care options, it said.

The paper investigates the nation’s changing demographics, highlighting the number of Australians aged 85 years over will increase from just over 503,685 people or 2 per cent of the population today to more than 5.8 million people or 3.7 per cent of the population by 2050.

The increase is of a magnitude requiring “significant adjustments to the Australian economy and systems that support older people,” but these changes are unlikely to be any greater than those that have occurred over the last 40 years, according to the paper.

The paper explores changes in patterns of disease and dependency, the rising incidence of dementia, changing expectations and the changing cultural profile of the Australian community.

It also also looks at current arrangements, future pressures and a greater need for preventative and restorative health.

Access the paper here.

Upcoming public forms

The paper’s release comes in the lead to an eight-day public hearing starting on Monday 6 May at the Lionel Bowen Law Building in Sydney.

As previously reported, the public hearing will inquire into:

  • the perspective and experience of aged care residents and people living with dementia, and their family and carers
  • quality and safety in residential aged care, particularly for people living with dementia
  • the use of restrictive practices in residential aged care
  • how well the current aged care system meets the needs of people in residential aged care
  • good practice care for people living with dementia, particularly in the context of residential aged care.

Prior to the Sydney hearing, the commission is holding its fourth community forum on Friday 3 May at Maidstone in Melbourne, where Commissioner Lynelle Briggs will provide the opening address.

New commission initiatives

The aged care royal commission recently added new features to its website including:

  • information about the royal commission translated into 31 different languages
  • a plain English description about the royal commission
  • information about engagement by the royal commission
  • information about a range of support services
  • an easier to use submissions page

The aged care royal is also now on Facebook.

All new features and information about public hearings and forums are available from the commission’s website here.

To stay up to date on the latest about the Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality go to our special coverage. We will also be issuing regular Royal Commission Roundup reports which you’ll receive in addition to your weekly e-newsletters.

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