It’s time for comprehensive change in aged care

A new research paper by the Flinders Caring Futures Institute highlights the need for comprehensive change in aged care and the Australian community’s strong commitment to achieve it.

The new study, led by Caring Futures Institute research theme lead and health economics expert Professor Julie Ratcliffe, uses the previous data collected from aged care recipients, finding the share of people who feel their care needs are always met is only 24% in residential care, and only 20% in home care.

These results are for all key aspects of care, including whether care recipients feel appropriate action is taken to address their complaints.

The share of care recipients who feel their needs are at least ‘mostly’ met across all key aspects of care was just 58% for residential care and 50% for home care.

The Flinders University-led research uses data from three national surveys conducted last year for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The findings are presented in Research Paper 20 – Australia’s aged care system: the quality of care experience and community expectations, available on the Royal Commission’s website.

The research paper is released ahead of the Royal Commission’s Final Report on 26 February 2021, which is expected to set out the Royal Commissioners’ recommendations for fundamental reform of aged care.

In a separate survey, the authors found most Australian adults view aged care as a vital social service, with all key aspects of care considered important or very important by the vast majority.

People with a greater understanding of aged care tend to have slightly greater appreciation of the importance of all aspects of care.

Females and older people are also the most likely to consider all aspects of care to be important or very important. There were only small differences between the views of people born in Australia and those born in other countries.

The community’s strong desire for older people to be cared for appropriately was also reflected by the majority of current taxpayers agreeing they would be willing to pay more to support aged care. These taxpayers were, on average, willing to pay up to an additional 3.1% income tax per year to ensure all Australians have access to high quality aged care.

In addition to showing the need for change and Australians’ commitment to achieve it, the surveys delivered a set of baseline data from which to evaluate aged care reform and public expectations in the future.

The research paper was prepared for the information of the Royal Commissioners and the public. Any views expressed in the paper are not necessarily the views of the Commissioners. To read the Royal Commission’s research papers, please visit the publications page.

‘Australia’s aged care system: the quality of care experience and community expectations’ authors Julie Ratcliffe, Gang Chen, Jyoti Khadka, Sheela Kumaran, Claire Hutchinson, Rachel Milte, Steven Savvas and Frances Batchelor are from Flinders University’s Caring Futures Institute, the Centre for Health Economics at Monash University and the National Ageing Research Institute.

Also ‘A new measure of quality of care experience in aged care: psychometric assessment and validation of the Quality of Care Experience (QCE) questionnaire’ by Jyoti Khadka, Julie Ratcliffe, Gang Chen, Sheela Kumaran, Rachel Milte, Claire Hutchinson, Steven Savvas and Frances Batchelor from Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University, Registry of Senior Australians at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Centre for Health Economics at Monash University and National Ageing Research Institute.

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Quality Aged Care