“We’re not funded for how happy a resident is.”
That’s one of the ways in which the current aged care system fails to incentivise good practice, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety heard.
Lucy O’Flaherty, who heads up Glenview and will oversee the development of its Korongee dementia village, said: “If we look at the way the industry is structured, we are, if I might put it very simply, funded for the amount of medications we’re giving, how many times we shower someone, what meals we provide.
“We’re not funded for how happy a resident is and how we’ve reduced their sleep medication because they’re happier and sleeping better.”
Jennifer Lawrence from Brightwater Care Group told the commission that the current system fails to incentivise innovation. “That is a problem for providers in terms of being able to afford to do anything that’s innovative is actually quite difficult. I really believe that we should be incentivised for the outcomes we achieve for our clients, rather than have to demonstrate disability.
“So being able to incentivise providers, and I’m not sure how you would do that, but being able to incentivise them for actually helping people lead a really good life and be as independent and as well for as long as possible, I think would be a great conversation for us to be having.”
Tamar Krebs, co-chief executive of Group Homes Australia, said she would like to see a voucher system in aged care.
“Instead of people getting funding in home care and separately into residential aged care, consumers should be allowed to choose where they want to get care. Once they’re eligible or they have a diagnosis or they need care, they should be able to tap into a voucher system that can fund their care, whether it’s in the community or in residential aged care.”
The conversation about incentivising good practice came after the witnesses spelled out the uniqueness of their individual models of care and, in particular, the ways in which they have navigated individualised dementia care and led with focuses on agency and choice.
Commissioner Richard Tracey welcomed the change of tone for the hearings. “As you know, we’ve heard, over recent weeks, a lot of very challenging stories about things that have been going on in nursing homes. And I must say it has been refreshing to hear how a bit of innovative thinking can produce good outcomes.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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