Why Australia needs a Report Card
Why the Aged Care Industry needs a Report Card
From experience Aged Care Report Card knows for many people the decision to move into an aged care facility often follows a significant event in their life, where they can no longer safely manage in their own home and require increased support and care. With the decision often needing to be made in a short period of time. It’s a challenging and highly emotional situation, one that requires more guidance and relevant information than is currently available.
In addition health professionals (discharge planners/case managers, social workers and industry bodies) working in hospitals and community centres are often not obligated to refer patients/clients to individual facilities; rather they offer families a list of facilities in their area. Apart from a directory of facilities, there is no measure, testimony or referral base to distinguish these facilities.
Aged Care Report Card assists people searching and selecting for aged care facility and provides them with some direction in a highly emotional situation. Ratings are based on ‘7 Standards of Excellence’ in care that are individually rated from 1 to 5. You can view these specific ratings or take into account the aggregate scorecard for the facility.
Who are the decision makers?
Family members of older Australians are most commonly charged with the decision of selecting an aged care facility. This can be a terribly daunting and overwhelming task, especially since most people will have had no prior experience of making this important life-changing decision.
People that usually make this decision or are stakeholders in the decision making process can be adult children, grand children, nieces and nephews, of older Australians and often it is a decision that falls upon their shoulders rather than a responsibility that they deliberately seek out. Where someone has no family, the decision may rest with the appointed Guardian or Trustee acting on behalf their behalf.
The aged care situation today
Australia is faced with a rapidly ageing population. In 2012, the Australian Bureau of Statistics stated that “over the next several decades, population ageing is projected to have significant implications for Australia in many spheres, including health, labour force participation, housing and demand for skilled labour ” (ABS, 2012).
The demands of an increasingly ageing population are becoming particularly apparent at present in aged care services at all levels of care. Aged care services face a massive shortage of local employees and qualified staff; so much so that there is significant pressure to import labour from overseas if necessary.
Furthermore government spending in this area has declined further, putting more pressure on existing support systems and personnel in this industry.
The emergence of transparency across the industry
The status quo for aged care providers, as well as industry bodies, and the government have shied away from promoting a culture of transparency in reviewing the state of aged care facilities across Australia. Unfortunately, and perhaps due to legacy issues within the sector, there seems to be a negative stigma attached to ‘transparency’ of trying to “uncover” the flaws in the system or specific sites.
Today, with the implementation of positive changes across the sector are already well underway and a corporatisation across the industry contributing to a positive transformation of experiences for the older Australians who depend on the sector, this negative connotation need not apply to the emergence of a trend towards transparency.
The aged care sector can be something that all stakeholders in the industry can champion and be proud of as the majority of operators and residents, their families and health professionals operate with sensitivity, care and commitment to ensuring wherever possible the participants in the sector receive a positive experience.