Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, has acknowledged the release of the Health, Aged Care and Sport Committee’s report on the Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia.
The inquiry, Chaired by Trent Zimmerman MP, examined the delivery and regulation of the current aged care system and incidents of mistreatment.
The report makes 14 recommendations, including a review of the Aged Care Funding Instrument to ensure it is providing for adequate levels of care.
LASA Chief Executive Officer Sean Rooney said the report takes a constructive approach, delivering many recommendations aimed at driving increased resourcing and improving quality in the industry for which LASA has been advocating for some time. LASA also notes that some of the recommendations affirm changes already underway in Australia’s aged care system.
“LASA particularly welcomes the report’s focus on adequate funding, including a review of the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) along with the Medicare Benefit Schedule to better support GP visits to residential aged care facilities.
“We have been advising the Federal Government for the past year of the impact on residential care providers of the combination of rising operating costs and stagnant revenues from government,” he said.
Last week, accounting firm Stewart Brown reported that more than 45 per cent of residential facilities reporting a before tax operating deficit for the year, and more than 21 per cent reporting a cash loss from operations. The situation is even more dire in rural and regional settings with over 60 per cent of operators reporting a loss.
Mr Rooney also welcomed the Inquiry’s focus on improving safety and quality.
“Quality and safety are non-negotiable in Australia’s age services industry.
“I know that our Members are absolutely committed to eliminating the risk of care failures and continuously improving standards of care.
“Workforce development is also vital to improving quality and we are seeking rapid progress on the implementation of the Aged Care Workforce Taskforce’s recently released strategy.
“Part of this is the development of a strong evidence base to inform optimal aged care staffing models across a range of care settings to meet the care needs of individuals and deliver best possible outcomes.
“However, we also need to acknowledge practical workforce and funding constraints and carefully consider that any new regulatory requirements do not divert limited resources away from providing direct care.”
Mr Rooney said LASA agreed with Mr Zimmerman’s assertion that we must get on with ongoing industry reform as a matter of priority while the Royal Commission proceeds.
“LASA stands ready to work with all stakeholders to address key funding and workforce issues and make Australia’s aged care system better right now,” Mr Rooney said
The Full Report is available here.
About Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)
LASA is the national peak body representing and supporting providers of age services across residential care, home care and retirement living. Our purpose is to enable a high performing, respected, and sustainable age services industry delivering accessible, affordable, quality care and services for older Australians.
We represent providers of age services of all types and sizes located across Australia’s metropolitan, regional and rural areas. Consistent with the overall industry profile, 57% of our Members are not-for-profit providers, 33% are for-profit providers and 10% are government providers.
Our diverse and representative membership gives LASA the ability to speak with credibility and authority on issues of importance to older Australians and the age services industry.
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