The sector has stated its claim, detailing what kind of aged care system it wants and what kind of reform it needs, with a final total of more than 400 submissions to the Productivity Commission’s upcoming inquiry into aged care.
Submissions, focusing on what Australia’s future aged care system should entail, came from a wide variety of organisations, academics, community groups and companies.
Amoung the many contributors were Mission Australia; Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA); The College of Nursing; NSW Retired Teachers’ Association; Palliative Care Australia; Anglican Care; Willoughby City Council and the Regis Group, but to name only a few.
ACSA’s submission highlighted specific areas which it said, need to be addressed by the inquiry. It called upon the Commission to “pull the threads together and create a plan, with appropriate supports, to make far reaching changes that will deliver better, and more sustainable, aged care to older Australians”.
“We envisage [that in the future], aged care as an entitlement, based on assessed needs, whereby older people can be effectively and consistently assisted to live satisfying, self-directed lives,” ACSA’s submission stated.
“Community care will be the foundation of aged care services into the future with residential care catering for more people with high needs. Progressive models providing housing in a community setting with facilities for those with more complex needs will become a more significant component of aged care.
“…In the broader context, a whole of government approach is imperative to link all facets of aged care with a range of government portfolios including housing, local government, indigenous and multicultural affairs, planning and infrastructure and employment.”
The Commission has promised to examine the social, clinical and institutional aspects of aged care in Australia, building on the substantial base of existing reviews into the sector. The inquiry will also, hopefully, develop options for further structural reform of the system so that it can meet the challenges facing it in coming decades.
The Regis Group’s report sought to focus on the current “stresses” faced by similar private providers in the sector.
It listed the following issues associated with maintaining a high standard of care, paying particular respect to funding increases well below the cost incurred in operating the business; ever increasing investment in maintaining compliance standards; the looming issue of capping of extra service places by region and the fast shrinking supply of skilled labour available to care for the elderly.
The group also highlighted a declining capacity to source skilled clinicians in all states across the country.
“The current immigration policy is delivering us a steady stream of foreign nationals to take up the roles of carers in our homes,” Regis’ report said.
“Sadly the level of funding for training and to seek experience is inadequate. Most of these people have completed a six week certificate three course over six weeks and have little or no idea how to provide care to our residents.
“There needs to be a funded ‘on the job’ program to give these people the experience they need to deliver adequate care. Additionally these workers are ambitious and use the role as an entry to another job; this is placing significant pressure on our management and clinicians.
“Regis supports the immigration of unskilled workers into Australia, to provide the necessary training and experience we now need to have additional funding so as to enable ‘job ready’ carers to present to facilities, this will promote significantly better outcomes for residents.”
The Commission’s draft report is due to be released in December this year, followed by the final report to government by April 2011.
To view the submissions click here.