More Australians believe aged care recipients are treated with respect, consideration and empathy this year than they did last year, but they are still in the minority.

It is the same for people’s trust in the aged care system, according to the Inside Aged Care Report 2020, which insights agency Faster Horses Consulting developed based on a survey of 2,072 Australians.

The report, which is the third in the series to date, investigated the general public and aged care recipients’ views on trust, funding, innovation, transparency and care quality in the aged care industry.

It found that 44 per cent of respondents perceive aged care residents are treated with respect and consideration (44 per cent), up from 38 per cent last year.

Similarly, there was an increase in the proportion of Australians who believe there is a great degree of empathy towards aged care recipients (43 per cent) compared to last year (38 per cent).

Just under a third of participants disagreed that residents were treated with respect, consideration and empathy (31 per cent) while around a quarter of participants said they didn’t know.

Veronica Mayne

When it comes to having a high degree of trust in the industry, Faster Horses Consulting managing director Veronica Mayne said the best results come from the aged care recipients or their relatives.

“This is a really positive result because those who are in the industry are in fact rating it the best,” Ms Mayne told the conference.

However, trust levels in these cohorts are still low. Only a third of survey participants who are receiving aged care services (32 per cent) or are a relative of someone accessing aged care services (33 per cent) have a high degree of trust in the industry.

Overall less than a quarter of respondents reported a high degree of trust in the aged care industry (22 per cent), which is the same as last year despite the impacts of COVID-19.

Participants aged 60 to 79 were less likely to have a high degree of trust in the aged care system (15 per cent) than their counterparts aged over 80 years (23 per cent).

Participants who lacked a connection to aged care as a direct user or relative also expressed low levels of trust in the sector (16 per cent).

Ms Mayne said some of the lowest levels of trust are among people outside of the industry, which is  a result of the media creating negative perceptions.

“It impacts perceptions primarily of people not exposed to industry at all, but also those who are about to access it,” she said.

“It’s up to us to tell the good news stories that are out there and change these perceptions in the marketplace and this is something everybody has responsibility for to do.”

Sean Rooney

Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said the findings would help the sector deliver better aged care services.

“It underscores the need to get on with making the system better right now by addressing funding, transparency, workforce and community involvement issues, with the Aged Care Royal Commission’s final report due in February,” Mr Rooney said in a statement.

“Our nation needs to transform the aged care system so the community has confidence that people will receive the care they need, and the workers and organisations who care for them are enabled to deliver the best care and services possible,” he said.

The LASA Ten Days of Congress takes place as a virtual event from 12 – 23 October.

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