What do the Aged Care Royal Commission's 148 recommendations mean for the sector? Our team explores the recommendations - looking at governance, quality and safety, the workforce, funding and financing - and explains what you can do now to prepare for the sector's transformational journey.
At the end of February, the Aged Care Royal Commission released its Final Report, entitled 'Care, Dignity and Respect' – the culmination of some two and a half years of hearings, more than 10,000 submissions and evidence from over 640 witnesses. The report contains 148 recommendations and sets out a comprehensive reform program, to be rolled out over an ambitious five-year timeline.
“The reform agenda is bold and is framed around new, rights-based legislation and the universal right of access to high quality and safe aged care services.”
We have unpacked the key recommendations from the Royal Commission's Final Report and what they mean for the future of the aged care sector.
We've brought together recommendations across four key themes.
The aged care sector is set to face new governance standards and obligations that will impact the makeup of the board and their reporting activities.
Boards will face a new regulator, a new set of regulatory and prudential standards, new reporting requirements and new enforcement tools. There will also be a significant focus on integrated corporate and clinical governance.
In our report, we explore how organisations can reconsider governance and culture, prepare for a new regulator and implement a stronger complaints and incident management system.
The delivery of safe, high quality aged care services is the centrepiece of the Royal Commission's work. All of the recommendations made are focussed on the central theme of improving aged care quality and safety. This starts with the formulation of a measurable definition of high quality care and the imposition of a general, non-delegable duty to provide safe, high quality care.
We explore what high quality aged care is and how you can measure it, areas for immediate improvement and how aged care can be better connected to the health care system.
A highly skilled, well rewarded and valued workforce is vital to the success of any further aged care system. The aged care workforce has been under pressure for some time – attracting, retaining and inspiring care staff has been a long-standing issue. Historically, aged care has not seen itself as a clinical care offering. However, the increasing need for more complex clinical care has meant there is a need to revisit training, staffing and remuneration. The Royal Commission's recommendations reflect changing community expectations as to a level of training, experience and remuneration within the sector so that it can properly meet the needs of aged care residents.
Considering new workforce standards, minimum staffing requirements and whistleblower protections are some of the important considerations for organisations.
To support the significant reforms proposed by the Royal Commission, substantial funding changes have been recommended. The changes proposed are broad sweeping and in many cases revolutionary. Although funding of the sector is one area where the Commissioners diverge, there is nevertheless a mutual recognition of the need to '…fund the system at a level sufficient to provide high quality and safe aged care'.
Important areas of consideration include new aged care service categories and improved access to health care, funding priorities and capital financing and the future of Refundable Accommodation Deposits (RADs).
“The bar has been raised for the aged care sector in Australia. The future is about putting the care of older people first.”
In each section of the report, we've brought together expertise from across our business to help you review and reflect on what the Royal Commission's recommendations mean for your organisation – and what you can do now to start preparing for a reimagined, rebuilt aged care sector.
We're sharing our perspective based on our experience of working with our clients across the aged care sector, as well as taking lessons from other industries that have undergone similar transformational journeys.
The case for change is compelling and the sector now anxiously awaits the Government's response to the Final Report – likely to be delivered with the May Budget. Whilst these are unsettling times, it is also a unique opportunity to take stock – to reflect on the lessons learned and to start rebuilding the aged care sector to meet the community's needs and expectations into the future.
We are well placed to partner with you on your transformational journey. Feel free to contact me or any of the other experts in our team to discuss how we can help.