Funding crucial to sustain small household model, says CEO

More investment is needed if Australia is to fully embrace the small household model of care, an industry event has heard.

More investment is needed if Australia is to fully embrace the small household model of care, an industry event has heard.

Speaking at the Aged Care Week conference in Sydney on Wednesday, Damien Jacobs – chief executive officer at Glenview Community Services – said, although the model clearly delivers benefits for residents, the operating costs were high.

Damien Jacobs

“You can see it’s working and the data’s there, but it is going to be a challenge for these sorts of models … it’s the bottom line. Otherwise you just can’t keep up with maintaining these sites that do need the support they need from a financial perspective,” he told delegates.

Glenview Community Services manages the Korongee Dementia Village in Hobart – which was announced in 2017 and opened in 2020. It has almost reached full capacity, said Mr Jacobs. “Occupancy is at 99 per cent; the market is voting with its feet.”

But, as it stands, Australia’s aged care funding system will be unable to meet the demand, said Mr Jacobs. “When we look at models overseas, say the Netherlands, they spend three times more than we do – gross domestic product – on aged care services … In Australia, we’ve got a long way to go.”

The Australian National Aged Care Classification is ill-quipped to fund operations such as Korongee, added Mr Jacobs. “AN-ACC is thresholded and does not respond to a dementia-specific environment.”

While the royal commission acknowledged the benefits of the small household model – and recommended the design as the way forward – there was “a glaring omission in its findings,” Mr Jacobs told delegates at the International Conference Centre in Darling Harbour.

“It talks about capital funding,” he said. “It’s OK to build these things, but then you’ve got to continue to operate them – and that’s the bit that’s missing.”

Korongee Dementia Village

When it came to operating a small household model of care, Mr Jacobs said government still seemed unaware of the complexities involved. To advise government, providers will need to share information, said Mr Jacobs.

“The more data that we can collate and collaborate with small house models in Australia the better,” he said. “Without that information, it’s going to be really hard to persuade decision-makers … I don’t think it’s clear to them at the moment about how they operate, the benefits, and the associated costs.”

Mr Jacobs’ observations come in the same week it was announced a new global consortium had formed to advocate for the wider adoption of small household models of residential aged care.

Main image: delegates at the Aged Care Week conference in Sydney

Comment on the story below. Follow Australian Ageing Agenda on LinkedInX (Twitter) and Facebook, sign up to our twice-weekly newsletter and subscribe to our premium content or AAA magazine for the complete aged care picture.  

Tags: Aged Care Week, Damian Jacobs, featured, Glenview community services, Korongee-village,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *