Reform ready? Help is here

A new network of advisors has been launched to help aged care organisations prepare for Living Long Living Better reforms and is backed up by cash grants for providers to put toward implementing the advised recommendations.


By Natasha Egan

A $12.6 million program providing a national network of advisors and business grants has been launched to assist aged care providers prepare for Living Longer Living Better reforms.

The Aged Care Workforce Innovation Network (WIN) will deliver free Reform Ready Reviews (RRRs) to around 200 providers in 10 regions. Participating providers will then be able to apply for up to $15,000 to carry out review recommendations.

The Aged Care WIN will be officially launched by Minister for Higher Education and Skills Sharon Bird at the Barossa Village Aged Care Facility in Nuriootpa, South Australia, this afternoon.

Minister Bird said this national network was about acting now to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

“The free Reform Ready Reviews will help businesses identify what they need to remain sustainable in a rapidly changing industry,” Ms Bird said.

“This will be backed up by tailored grants of up to $15,000 to implement changes.”

The Aged Care WIN will be delivered by Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CS&HISC) in consultation with the two national peaks, A ged and Community Services Australia and Leading Age Services Australia.

The 10 regions involved in the roll out are Caboolture on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast; the Mid North Coast, Central Coast and Illawarra regions of New South Wales; North West Melbourne; South East Melbourne; Northern Adelaide; Tasmania; the South Perth/Peel region in Western Australia; and the Northern Territory.

Help for individuals and regions

Each region has an Aged Care WIN Business Partner who will provide support to individual aged care organisations by reviewing their business models and skills mix in line with the Living Longer Living Better reform agenda and give support at the regional level by identifying and supporting opportunities for sustainable regional initiatives, a CS&HISC spokesperson said.

CS&HISC CEO Rod Cooke said the Aged Care WIN would help aged care businesses transit through the impending changes, survive the process of reform, and succeed in offering the services demanded by Australia’s Baby Boomers.

“We see the Aged Care WIN as being particularly important for regions outside of city centres, where the struggles of recruitment and training are well documented, along with the growing, often unmet needs, of rapidly ageing communities,” Mr Cooke said.

The RRRs, which will kick off from July 1, will examine the organisation’s preparedness for change, workforce and sustainability.

“Like it or not, aged care reform will force aged care providers to modernise, innovate and move to a system that’s guided by the consumer,” Mr Cooke said.

“Small and large aged care providers will need to change their business models and workforce structures to get up to speed with the reforms.

“Under the proposed reforms, operators will have to become businesses in the true sense, compete in the marketplace for the attention of older clients and offer quality health and aged care services.

“If they don’t, they might be pushed out of the market and cease to exist,” Mr Cooke said.

Above: Barossa Village Aged Care CEO Phil Schmaal was involved in the pilot Reform Ready Reviews and recommends other providers to take part 

Professional advice for small providers

Regional provider Barossa Village Aged Care, where the program is being launched today, took part in the pilot program.

CEO Phil Schmaal (pictured) said his organisation has benefited from the review by getting them to think critically about the reform process.

“The review provides an opportunity to look, sit back and review the capacity for some of the reform and to ask and answer questions boards and CEOs haven’t considered because they’ve been too busy putting out the day-to-day fires,” Mr Schmaal said.

It’s also an opportunity for smaller providers to access professional advice and the information needed for critical thinking that they may not otherwise have the resources to access, he said.

“There are many large organisations with multiple sites which have been able to work it out for themselves,” Mr Schmaal said.

“[However], many smaller regional and rural owned aged care providers don’t have the same resources and sometimes struggle to have the ability to have things analysed.

“It’s important throughout the reform process that we don’t lose the small community owned organisations in regional and rural areas.”

Without the locally owned organisations, the level of community engagement is not as significant as it is otherwise, he said.

The program is funded by a government investment of $10 million from the National Workforce Development Fund plus an industry contribution of $2.6 million.

The government contribution includes $9.1 million for the Aged Care WIN and $800,000 for complementary research involving three projects.

The research projects aim to identify better career paths for nurses; investigate the changing roles of carers and community care workers; and develop leadership skills in the aged care sector.

For more information on the Aged Care WIN program, including contact details, see Aged Care WINs.



Tags: aged-care-workforce-innovation-network, living-longer-living-better, phil-schmaal, rod-cooke, sharon-bird, wins,

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