Grant Thornton investigates alternative models

The Aged Care Alliance has engaged the accounting firm to assess the viability of a number of resident-focused models of care.

The national Aged Care Alliance has engaged accounting firm Grant Thornton to investigate the viability of a number of alternative, client-focused models for residential aged care.

The project will explore the possible effects of increasing high care accommodation bonds, as well as considering creative rental models that will emulate hotels and retirement villages.

The modeling will be conducted across 17 facilities in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Alliance spokesperson Jim Toohey said the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot had encouraged the group to explore new models of care.

“In a meeting with the alliance, the minister indicated that she was keen to get some suggestions and hear some advice about alternatives models so we have taken her at her word,” he said.

“For decades, government policy for aged care has been overly prescriptive but with this initiative we are putting everything on the table to see what consumers want. Everything is up for discussion.”

Retirement village residents and seniors will be quizzed to gain an understanding of their future service preferences and favoured payment options.

“We are interested in how any extra revenue may be translated on the ground in terms of what future residents want with the extra resources,” Mr Toohey said.

“The focus is often on accommodation options but I would guess the vast majority of residents would want things like better-paid staff as well.”

The head of Grant Thornton’s aged care services, Cam Ansell said the project was a natural progression from his firm’s 2008 aged care survey.

“We have long argued that the two key aspects that serve as impediments to achieveing viability are the levels of subsidy indexation and the increasing acuity of residents,” he said.

“The main principle coming out of our 2008 survey was that as more modern high care facilities are built, the number of loss-making facilities is increasing and that is bringing the averages down.

“The purpose of this work is to test whether or not different aspects of deregulation would make viable propositions to encourage investment in the sector.”

Mr Ansell predicted that future aged care residents will have demands akin to people living in retirement villages today.

“We can tell already that people’s expectations about privacy, dignity and access to allied health and high quality food are going to increase,” Mr Ansell said.

The results of the Grant Thornton study will be used in the alliance’s response to the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s interim report, which called for a relaxation of aged care regulation.

It is expected that the report will be completed by June.

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