Home | Industry+Policy | Voucher system, funding shifts needed for aged care: royal commission hearing

Voucher system, funding shifts needed for aged care: royal commission hearing

“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.”

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3 comments

  1. People need to go to the type of the facility that suits their needs. Generally residents who are bed bound, have advanced dementia and other physical limitations can’t be accommodated in these group type homes. People need to be careful that they are comparing like facilities. We have an incentive program already its ACFI and if it was funded properly then facilities would have enough money. All the government does is move the goal posts so its harder to claim while residents care needs and the costs of caring for them keep going up.

  2. Wow it is great to hear – wouldn’t it be terrific to get funding to keep a client happy and able. This is where people are ending up for the last years of their lives, lets try and make it an experience that they will remember for the right reasons.

    Unfortunately funding is geared towards disabling clients and that is a shame. I have seen my own parents go from walking on their own to now both on walking frames (well inside the home – when we take them out they never have their frames!)

    Keep up that innovative thinking!

  3. Annette Hefford

    “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.”

    And good luck to all those who think they can make people happy or ‘make them’ anything.
    Happiness is inner wisdom and one is either happy or not.
    When I say “happy”, I do not mean in a good mood or some other wording but happy to me is an inner feeling that does not go away because of so called bad news but because of its permanent status can be constant strength in times of hardship. And for some of us it doesn’t come easily or over a cup of coffee and definitely not incentivised by anything.
    People of all ages respond to love and kindness and the majority of those that provide it within their field of care, provide it willingly.

    “Jennifer Lawrence from Brightwater Care Group told the commission that the current
    system fails to incentivise innovation. “

    So what system incentivises innovation or anything else? I would think (my personal opinion) that most systems of employment give a wage which could only be considered to be an incentive to work harder or longer or whatever is wanted, through wage bonuses or some such reward. However, innovation does not come from an incentive but from personnel who have a mind set to produce innovative ideas and time to plan and carry them out. Most people are not employed because they have a CV full of innovative ideas. But if they have any innovative ideas they provide them, I am sure.

    “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.”

    Why should anyone feel they need to “incentivise” aged care carers. One might offer incentive to another but if the carers do not have values that produce personal good practice to care for their residents then perhaps they are in the wrong field of care or ????

    Why even use the word. So many people do not know what it is supposed to mean and as it seems to have been added to vocabulary around 1970, it is probably a word like “expiditious” which my cousin made up many years ago. And her word at least sounds good but not a “real” word unless we want to get back to the early ages and start again.

    I cannot believe that the current system is “there” to be incentivised.
    Surely we go to work as adults, not children or pets that expect rewards or donkeys that need a carrot to get them motivatised.

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