Transitions in ageing are not consistent and systematic as they are described by our ageing systems.
Sometimes they are incremental, sometimes accidental, sometimes monumental, and they are always personal. We can create something better.
Grant Thornton, with support from Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and a national cross-section of age services providers, came together to share perspectives on the future of age services and ageing well in Australia. This was presented to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in September 2019.
What’s in the report?
- Consumer experience
- Access to services
- Collaboration and coordination
- The role of technology
- Governance and leadership
- Government and policy
- Community and society
A provider contribution to an important discussion
On the coalface, providers hear the stories and experience the challenges the current system has in meeting the needs of older Australians.
There is no easy solution, and there is much to do to continually improve services and experiences in the aged care sector.
This is a first step towards acknowledging the challenges and creating a pathway towards better age services and ageing well in Australia.
It was clear from all attendees that service providers will not be passive participants in the future direction of the industry, that tinkering is no longer an option and structural reform will be required to restore the faith of the Australian community in the sector’s ability to deliver quality and safe care for all who require it.
A person centred approach
Older Australians desire services and experiences that are an extension of the lives they have been leading. To realise these experiences, services need to reflect the specific needs and wants of the individual, and be provided in places that provide the greatest holistic benefit to the person – benefits that allow them to experience life to the fullest possibility. This requires a high degree of personal choice and control over the decisions that determine their future, whatever that may be. The places that are designed to enable them to experience these benefits need to be enticing, and offer a continuum of their current experience, including quality of life.
Creating a coordinated, accessible and quality sector for the future
The services that ageing Australians require to live full lives cut across funding sources, political jurisdictions, legislation, regulation and geography. They cut across modalities, including primary care, acute care, and aged care settings. The arbitrary arrangement of these constraints as opposed to the continuum of experience that older Australians deserve and desire. The configuration of services built around these constraints adds enormous complexity to the experience and administration of a person’s access to them.
What has been made very clear throughout the process of creating this report is that ageing well and aged care services cannot be viewed in isolation, and must become more embedded in the fabric of our society. It must enable choice and it must have a clear pathway so older Australians can access quality and safe care when they need it, how they need it.
Thank you to Sean Rooney and his team at LASA, as well as the 118 age services leaders that attended our workshops across Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney for your time and commitment to change in the sector.