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A Consumer Focus

With an ageing population; by 2026 it is estimated 18% of the population will be 65 years and over (5 million people) compared to 15% as at 2015-16, the so-called baby boomer population will be requiring some form of aged care service. [1] What does this mean for the industry? Currently the Australian aged care system is known to be world class [2] and to maintain this standing, changes are afoot to ensure the system is sustainable and affordable, and offers choice and flexibility to those who use the system.

Consumer directed care (CDC) is the beginning of changes that put the consumer in the driving seat. CDC is a model of service delivery, where consumers are supported to set goals, determine the level of ongoing involvement that they wish to have, and make decisions relating to their own care. [3] The change commenced in the in the Home Care Packages Programme, and will over time relate to any setting where aged care and services are delivered.

Consumers want to stay as independent as possible and reside in their home where they have connections to family and friends. As more baby boomers enter the industry, they will want more say in what services are delivered, by whom, when and where.

The mind shift of services only being delivered in a residential setting is long past, and people are more focused on how well they will live their lives, rather than considering how they might spend their remaining days. A wellness and re-ablement focus has emerged where optimising a person’s physical and mental health and well-being is linked to re-ablement which, where necessary, helps people to regain skills for daily living that have been lost due to deterioration in health or advancing frailty. [4]

To remain world class, the Government and the industry are looking at ways ensure the system is sustainable, encouraging investment into the industry, building on infrastructure and human resources. People want to be cared for by those who have the right attitude and attributes to work with older people and have the appropriate skills to undertake the work required. [5]

Such a system must be financially viable and for those who can afford to pay for care and services do, however many factors are considered when people apply to access government-subsidised services. [6]

Consumers are very interested in knowing what the consumer experience is when people access aged care and service and want to ensure their quality of life (QoL) is maintained. The industry has responding, introducing a range of quality measures (called indicators) and is currently trialling a range of consumer experience and QoL measures. These can be used to provide consumers with transparent, comparable information about the quality of care and services and to deliver service providers with robust, valid data to measure and monitor their performance and to support continuous quality improvement. [7]


 References

  1. Australian Government Department of Health. 2015–16 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 (1.96MB pdf). Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health. 2016.
  2. Australian Government Department of Health. Why is aged care changing [Internet]. 2016 [updated 2016 Aug 24; cited 2017 May 26].
  3. COTA Australia. Home Care Today [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 May 5].
  4. Lifecare Homecare. A new model for community care - wellness and reablement [Internet]. 2015 Aug 27 [cited 2017 May 5].
  5. Leading Aged Services Australia. LASA policies and positions: Policy Statement 16: Workforce [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2017 Aug 1].
  6. My Aged Care. Costs [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 May 5].
  7. Australian Government Department of Health. About the National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program [Internet]. 2016 [updated 2016 Aug 11; cited 2017 May 5].

 

Page updated 03 August 2018