Dec 19, 2019

Royal commission calls for submissions on “overhaul” of aged care system


The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has released a consultation paper outlining what a new model of aged care might look like, and is calling for submissions from interested parties.

The model the royal commission is proposing is based around the question, “How can we ensure any redesign of the aged care system makes it simpler for older people to find and receive the care and support they need?”

It is intended to be more “flexible”, and moves away from the idea that care is determined by the setting in which it is delivered – residential aged care or home care. It’s aimed to help users move through the system in a more linear way as their care needs increase.

The paper says recent changes to the aged care system, that remain in train today, have only “added complexity to an already complex system and have sometimes created new problems”.

The proposed model is the “fundamental overhaul” of the aged care system foreshadowed in the royal commission’s interim report.

“It is clear that the aged care system in in desperate need of redesign – no mere patching up,” the consultation paper states.

What does the proposed model look like?

The proposed design consists of different components that can be combined to match each individual’s circumstances and preferences.

The components of the royal commission’s proposed model are:

  • A care finder to help older people link to services and to help them oversee their own care.
  • A support stream to help older people remain independent and engaged, for people who need help with things like cleaning and shopping, or remaining connected to their communities.
  • An investment stream to support older people to maintain or regain functioning, and to ensure carers are able to count on regular and quality respite care.
  • A care stream for those older people with a need for personal and nursing care or allied health, with care matched to their need, and with a choice to receive care in their own home or a residential setting.
  • Specialist expertise from the health system and within the aged care system to support those people with more complex needs.
royal commission aged care model
Source: Royal Commission.


Funding and regulation also under the micros

The consultation paper also looks at aged care funding and regulation, and provides questions for interested parties to use as a framework to guide their responses in a submission. 

It reveals that aged care funding will represent 5.4 per cent of GDP by 2028-29 if the system remains as it is. 

Market forces have not generated good results, according to the royal commission.

“Market forces have an important role to play, but are not delivering equipable outcomes,” the paper states. “The direction of current reform puts too much faith in market forces and consumer choice.”

Aged care financing is a combination of both the means testing approach of the age pension and Australian’s faith in universal healthcare.

Regulation would have to be overhauled if the structure of the aged care system changes, the paper points out.

Industry responses to “overhaul” will take time

Aged and Community Services Australia CEO, Pat Sparrow, said ACSA is still digesting the report and determining its responses, and has been considering what it will look for in a new system.

“It’s good (the royal commision has) put pen to paper and that we know what they’re thinking,” she told HelloCare.

The investment stream is the newest concept to come out of the model, and requires particular attention, she said.

ACSA will be looking for a system that is fit for purpose and delivers for consumers, and that supports innovation, she said.

Any new model for aged care must also allow providers to deliver quality services in a way that is sustainable, Ms Sparrow said.

Transparency and regulation must also be part of any new model, she said.

Leading Age Services Australia is still formulating its response to the discussion paper. LASA will make a submission to the royal commission in due course.

You can read the consultation paper in full here.

Submissions will be accepted until close of business Friday, 24 January 2020.


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