Only around one quarter of the people living in residential aged care feel their care needs are always met, according to survey results contained in a new research paper released by the royal commission.
The paper also reveals that Australians are willing to pay more tax if it will deliver high quality aged care services to all Australians.
Flinders University surveys of aged care recipients found that the share of people who feel their care needs are always met is only 24% in residential care, and 20% in home care.
The percentage of care recipients who feel their needs are at least ‘mostly’ met is also low, with only 58% of aged care residents and 50% of home care recipients say their needs are ‘mostly’ met.
Julie Ratcliffe, Professor of Health Economics in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University, told HelloCare there is “a relatively large proportion of eldelry Australians who are not receiving the quality of care that we should expect as a country.”
“There is a lot of work to be done to elevate the quality of aged care systems.”
The aged care system needs increased funding, and a larger workforce with the right skills and training, Ratcliffe said.
The survey looked at six criteria that defines the quality of aged care services.
The criteria are:
The surveys not only looked at the quality of aged care services, but also at whether Australians would be prepared to pay higher rates of tax for better aged care services.
The surveys found that taxpayers were, on average, willing to pay up to an additional 3.1% income tax per year to ensure that all Australians have access to high quality aged care.
As part of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University surveyed more than 10,000 people, investigating what ‘quality of care in aged care’ means to Australians.
The ‘Quality of Care Experience’ (QCE) questionnaire was developed to help define the characteristics of quality care from the perspective of older people and family carers.
The QCE has also been used by the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) to examine the care experience of more than 1,000 older people receiving aged care at home and in residential aged care.
Prior to the royal commission, there was little in the way of information about how residents feel about the quality of the aged care services they receive. These surveys filled an important gap.
The surveys provide a set of ‘baseline data’ from which aged care services can be evaluated in the future, and future reform can be considered, the report states.
“One of the legacies of the Royal Commission is that Australia now has a substantially improved understanding of the quality of aged care services and the community’s expectations for higher quality care to be achieved in the future,” the report says.
Ratcliffe hopes the surveys will continue into the future.
“We know that the royal commission is almost certainly going to recommend ongoing, routine monitoring and reporting of quality of care experience and quality of life and so i’m very hopeful that we will introduce in Australia a sector-wide system for reporting on quality of care experience and quality of life routinely.
“Hopefully that [data] will be publicly available in the future. That’s what I’m working towards,” she told HelloCare.
“At the moment we have a dearth of data of this nature and yet it’s so essential to Australians who are thinking about going into aged care or australians who are about to enter the home care system.
“We need this kind of data because it’s currently missing.
“The royal commission has done a really good job of providing that data, but let’s hope it’s not a one off.
“The royal commission has started that process and I hope it will continue going forward.”
The royal commission’s final report is due on 26 February 2021, and will lay out the commissioners’ recommendations for fundamental reform of the Australian aged care system.