A research paper released by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety this month supports the call by experts, and many previous inquiries, for major changes to Australia’s aged care system.
The research draws data from three national surveys held in 2020. It confirms that the state of aged care in Australia is “undeniably alarming”.
Only 24 per cent of people in residential care and 20 per cent of people in home care felt that their needs were always met. People who felt that their needs were at least ‘mostly’ met across all key aspects of care was just 58 per cent for residential care and 50 per cent for home care.
One survey found that most Australian adults viewed aged care as a crucial social service.
The community’s strong desire for older people to receive appropriate care is evident by the majority of current taxpayers agreeing they would be willing to pay more to support aged care – up to 3.1 per cent in income tax per year.
This paper is another example of the extensive research the royal commission has published during its inquiry.
This is welcome because there is little publicly available data on the aged care sector.
Its research gives baseline data from which to evaluate aged care quality, aged care reform and public expectations.
The royal commission says the research will inform its final report.
What was even more encouraging was that the commission said its final report “will set out the Royal Commissioners’ recommendations for fundamental reform [my emphasis] of aged care”.
Fundamental reform is needed to fix the crisis in aged care. The concern is how receptive the federal government will be to adopting the royal commission’s recommendations and how quickly it will act.
The final report is expected to be made public this week.
This opinion piece, ‘Research shows strong community support for crucial aged care reform‘, appeared in the Newcastle Herald on Saturday 27 February 2021.