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Aged Care in Australia - Going from Bad to Worse

Australian Aged Care Services have only declined despite of the latest efforts and reform promises from the Government.

By Ashutosh PorwalPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
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Aged Care in Australia - Going from Bad to Worse
Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

In recent years, Australia's aged care system has been plagued by a myriad of challenges, despite promises of reform and pledges from successive governments. Despite the introduction of new mandates and funding models, the sector continues to struggle, leaving elderly Australians vulnerable and underserved. From a shortage of skilled caregivers to flawed funding structures and a lack of accountability, the system is failing those it was designed to support.

Labour Shortage and Quality of Care

One of the most pressing issues facing the aged care sector is the chronic shortage of qualified and experienced caregivers. In response to this shortage, the industry has seen an influx of unskilled and inexperienced workers, compromising the quality of care provided to elderly Australians. With insufficient training and support, these caregivers often struggle to meet the complex needs of their clients, leading to substandard care and increased risks to the health and well-being of residents.

Minimal training requirements for caregivers raises serious concerns about the quality and safety of services provided to older individuals. With the rise of online courses offering quick certifications with minimal hands-on training, the threshold for entering the field has been lowered, potentially compromising the well-being of vulnerable elderly populations.

Flawed Funding Model: The Downfalls of AN-ACC

The introduction of the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model was intended to address funding disparities and promote greater transparency within the aged care sector. However, the reality has fallen short of expectations, with many experts arguing that the AN-ACC model fails to adequately incentivise quality care. Instead, it prioritises cost-cutting measures and fails to account for the diverse needs of aged care residents. This has resulted in a system where profit margins take precedence over providing high-quality, person-centered care.

One of the sectors hardest hit is allied health care, particularly physiotherapy services. For many elderly individuals, access to physiotherapy is crucial for maintaining mobility, independence, and overall quality of life. However, due to changes in funding and allowing aged care providers a free hand in choosing what services are 'essential', allied health services are being denied to those who need them most.

Lack of Accountability and Consequences

Despite mounting evidence of systemic issues within the aged care sector, there remains a concerning lack of accountability for providers operating below acceptable standards. While sanctions and poor star ratings are imposed on underperforming facilities, these consequences are often short-term and do little to address underlying issues. Without meaningful repercussions for substandard care, providers have little incentive to improve, leaving residents at continued risk of neglect and abuse.

Government Failures and Public Apathy

The current government's failure to deliver on its promises of aged care reform has only exacerbated the challenges facing the sector. Despite pledges to improve standards and increase funding, progress has been slow, and substantive changes have yet to materialise. Meanwhile, the Australian public remains largely indifferent to the plight of elderly Australians, with attention often diverted to more immediate concerns such as economic indicators and political scandals. As a result, the voices of the elderly are often drowned out, leaving them marginalised and underserved.

VOICE NEEDED

The need for community involvement in aged care reform cannot be overstated. As our population ages and the demand for aged care services continues to grow, the quality and accessibility of these services will have far-reaching implications for individuals, families, and society as a whole. Whether it's ensuring adequate staffing levels, improving standards of care, or advocating for policy changes, the decisions we make today will shape the future of aged care for generations to come.

As we contemplate the future of aged care in Australia, it is clear that the path forward must be paved with community engagement, awareness, and advocacy. By raising our voices, becoming more informed, and standing in solidarity with those affected by aged care issues, we can drive meaningful reform and create a future where aging is accompanied by dignity, respect, and quality of life for all. The time to act is now, for the sake of ourselves, our loved ones, and future generations.

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About the Creator

Ashutosh Porwal

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