Australia’s voice of aged care, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), said that the high quality of residential aged care is not negotiable, noting concerns raised by the ABC in media reports today.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney said we all want and are striving to deliver high quality aged care. Our older Australians need and deserve it.

“Australia has a good aged care system. And, we know that a good system can always do better. Situations such as those raised by the ABC 7.30 Report are not acceptable,” Mr Rooney said.

“However, the actions taken by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) show that the aged care regulatory system is working.”

In this context, it should also be noted that:

  1. Almost 97% of aged care facilities in Queensland received a clean bill of health in 2017 with no issues raised whatsoever.
  2. There are currently 9 of 445 Queensland residential aged care facilities that are responding to notices of non-compliance to improve a particular aspect of their service.
  3. The rate of complaints in Queensland residential aged care in 2017 is 569 for 51,493 beds which is less than 1% (.015%).
  4. Nationally, in 2016/17 there were 4,713 complaints received across 1.3million people supported by the aged care system, representing about 0.4%. Of these, early resolution was achieved for 4,228 or 92% of finalised complaints.

Mr Rooney said that many factors contribute to quality and standards in aged care and these include the age services workforce.

“The provision of appropriate levels of care for older Australians in residential care facilities is not as simple as the number of staff on duty, or arbitrary staffing ratios,” Mr Rooney said.

“The needs of people in residential aged care are highly variable and, within a stringent quality control system, a flexible staffing mix can deliver the best quality of care targeted at individual care needs.

“Flexibility to adjust the staffing mix as the profile of residents changes is a very important consideration, as is the adaptability to move to new models of care driven by innovation and new technology.

“Our industry has welcomed the opportunity to work with the Federal Government’s Aged Care Workforce Taskforce which is responsible for developing a wide-ranging workforce strategy focused on ensuring safe, quality aged care for older Australians.”

Mr Rooney said moving forward it was vital that the Federal Government supported high quality age services delivered by appropriately trained and qualified staff by delivering a stable and equitable funding base.

“The Government is well aware that current funding for the aged care system is not sustainable and a national solution to pay for the growing cost of aged care is required,” Mr Rooney said.

“We need to design and develop a sustainable funding strategy underpinned by detailed research, analysis and modelling. Funding options for consideration should include examples from other countries, such as national insurance schemes, taxpayer levies, user-pays models, taxation concessions/supplements and the like.”

Mr Rooney said LASA has also called for an immediate funding injection in the upcoming 2018-19 Budget, particularly for rural and regional providers, while longer-term work on new funding arrangements is undertaken.

Contact:                                 Ashley Oliver 0458 011 009     ashleyo@lasa.asn.au