Despite strong concerns from the industry, the Minister for Ageing says she is confident that the aged care sector will see the merit of listing sanctioned and non-compliant homes on a government website for consumers.
The government announced in March that it planned to publish quality information about homes on www.agedcareaustralia.gov.au.
“I recognise that there is some hesitation, but this is about helping Australian families gain more access to information on the quality and compliance of Australia’s 2,830 aged care homes,” Justine Elliot said in a statement.
Mrs Elliot said the government made the decision to improve consumer choice.
“Choosing an aged care home can be very difficult and families deserve this information – especially, when they are making one of the toughest decisions of their lives,” she said.
But the minister did not address industry concerns about the system used to determine non-compliance.
At the time of the announcement, Aged Care Queensland CEO, Anton Kardash told Australian Ageing Agenda that he agreed with the principle of consumer choice but like many providers, he felt the current quality and accreditation system was flawed.
“You have to subscribe to the principle of transparency and the capacity for consumers to look at the quality of services,” he said.
“But that presupposes that the system is a good system – and we know it’s not a good system.”
“There have to be assurances that the quality systems are robust before you feel comfortable that consumers are being provided with accurate information.”
Mr Kardash is particularly worried that information will not be readily updated or sufficiently explained.
“Our members often find that quality issues can be addressed very quickly but that is not necessarily reported,” he said.
“I actually believe the data would have to be changed daily if it really were to be accurate.”