Our aged care system has served Australia relatively well up until this point. However, it is clear that the system as a whole needs to change. Here’s why.
While political, social, economic and technological changes affect every industry in Australia, the aged care sector will arguably be one of the industries most impacted by such external forces in the future.
20-odd years ago the term ‘Web 2.0’ was introduced to describe the changing nature of the World Wide Web. An array of web applications facilitated the fundamental shift in how the internet was used, which transformed the world economy. With enhanced competitive pressures, an ageing population with unique needs and wants, and a changing legislative and funding landscape, the aged care industry is arguably approaching its own transformational era.
It is projected that by 2061, almost one in four Australians will be 65 and over, where only a few short years ago, this proportion was one in seven. With the country’s forecast population growth, this translates to an increase from 3.2 million to as high as 10.6 million people. Should there be a three-fold increase in the number of older Australians, and this cohort continue to experience relatively longer periods of ill-health2 and, as has been predicted, receive less informal care, it would have a devastating impact on an aged care system already under financial stress.
Historically, the ratio of older Australians to those of working age has facilitated the current aged care funding structure. In 1970, for each Australian aged over 65, there were 7.5 working aged people to support them. In 2010, the ratio had reduced to 5 working aged people for every Australian aged over 65, and by 2050 it is projected to fall to 2.7. Financial pressures on the current system and the comparatively higher costs associated with residential care may result in providers needing to operate with static or even proportionally reduced funding.
In addition, new market entrants, strategic partnerships, mergers and diversification of services will continue to disrupt the aged care system status quo. As organisations implement talent acquisition strategies, the movement of key personnel and recruitment of new industry staff will place increased pressures on existing aged care organisations to develop a value proposition for their employees as equally as having one for their customers.
Change presents opportunities for innovation and growth. We predict that the successful organisations of the future will be those that effectively balance commercial imperatives with a quality of care that places residents at the centre of everything the organisation does.
As the aged care system will likely have its ‘Aged Care 2.0’ moment in the near future, it is important that your organisation has well defined strategic plans, and that your key internal stakeholders are aligned to the organisation’s vision.
Epicor’s latest whitepaper: The Australian Aged Care System 2.0: Why You Need To Prepare For Change further discusses the factors outlined in this article.
Download your copy here.