The initial findings from the Royal Commission into Australia’s aged care system has been welcomed by regional, rural and remote service provider and consumer-driven care advocate, LiveBetter Community Services.
Executive General Manager Operations, Janis Redford, said the findings signalled the need for urgent systemic reform around the care of older people and that what has been uncovered during the commission so far would not come as a surprise to those in the sector.
Ms Redford also cited the strength of the language used in the interim report was an indication of just how much work is required to appropriately meet the needs of our older and often very vulnerable people.
The focus given by the commissioner on home care, the need for increasing training and recognition of the aged care workforce, and the issue of younger people with a disability being placed in residential aged care facilities was particularly welcomed by Ms Redford.
“I was heartened to see the role of home care identified as an area of focus as we know our customers want to stay living at home. As a major provider of home care services in regional areas we sadly often see many people on the wait list for services for up to 18-months. There is a chronic shortage of home care funding and unfortunately we regularly turn people requiring support away, which potentially could fast-track their entry into a facility,” said Ms Redford.
“The focus on ceasing the placement of young people with a disability into residential aged care facilities was encouraging. The NDIS has created more opportunity for people with a disability to access appropriate accommodation services. We are not the only disability provider who currently has vacancies in our disability accommodation services; more cross-sector collaboration could absolutely address this,” she said.
According to Ms Redford the aged care sector also requires further investment in workforce, with the difficulty of accessing funding for training and development a key challenge.
“In this sector the most important asset we have are our staff – people who care deeply about the work that they do. We must value the role that aged care staff play in the delivery of services and ensure there is a clear strategy to improve the quality of training, and the viability of careers in caring”.