Australia under-prepared for radical changes to aged care, researchers warn

Published: Thursday 15th June 2017

Photo of Institute of Health and Ageing Director Professor Marita McCabe.

Institute of Health and Ageing Director Professor Marita McCabe speaks at the launch of a report on the study, Older and Wiser: Putting the Consumer's Voice at the Centre of Residential Aged Care.


Australia is under-prepared for a radical change to the way residential aged care services will be funded by the Commonwealth Government in the near future, researchers from ACU’s Institute for Health and Ageing warned at an event in Canberra this week.

It is expected that older Australians receiving Commonwealth assistance will be increasingly empowered to make decisions about how they spent it, moving away from a historical funding system that allocated funding to aged care providers.

According to the report Older and Wiser: Putting the Consumer's Voice at the Centre of Residential Aged Care, launched today by Hon. Ken Wyatt, Minister for Aged Care, the shift toward Consumer Directed Care (CDC) poses significant challenges for older Australians and the residential aged care sector.

Based on a study which explored the impact of CDC on six aged care facilities in Melbourne, the report highlights what more needs to be done to support this dramatic change to aged care services in Australia. This includes:

  • greater workforce training,
  • job restructuring,
  • greater empowerment of residential aged care facility workers, and
  • strong leadership by managers of residential aged care facilities.

A report on the study, Older and Wiser: Putting the Consumer's Voice at the Centre of Residential Aged Care, was launched at an event in Parliament House in Canberra on 14 June.

Speaking ahead of the launch, ACU’s Institute for Health and Ageing Director Professor Marita McCabe said consumer directed care was an opportunity to better meet the needs of older Australians but more planning and preparation was needed.

“Australia needs a residential aged care sector that can better tailor services to meet the individual needs of older people,” Professor McCabe said.

“With an estimated 76,000 new residential aged care facilities required by 2023-24, it’s important change happens now to ensure the aged care sector is prepared for the ‘silver tsunami’.

“However, in order for this important shift to be successful there needs to be more support from government and industry for greater workforce training as well as education for older Australians and their families who are making decisions about residential aged care.”

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