A national aged care system divided into 30 regions and an extra $7 billion a year.
Those are key parts of the Grattan Institute’s blueprint to reform Australia’s aged care sector.
The report, Reforming aged care: a practical plan for a rights-based system, held that Australia should be divided into 30 regions, each with a ‘system manager’ responsible for individual support plans for older Australians in their area.
Local ‘assessment officers’ would work with each older Aussie to draw up support plans and a local ‘support manager’ would act as their advocate in obtaining necessary services.
“Older Australians should have face-to-face help to obtain a range of diverse and high-quality service options.
“Rather than a poorly-regulated and fragmented system far away in Canberra, 30 regionally-based ‘system managers’ across the country should be made responsible for the care of older Australians in a defined geographic area. They should manage the local service system and only accredit providers dedicated to the rights of older Australians,” the report read.
And, under the plan, those who enter aged care would contribute to their accommodation costs by paying rent, but the Grattan team said a means test would be applied to ensure people who couldn’t afford the rent would pay less or not at all.
The report said: “Individuals should be required to make means-tested contributions for their everyday accommodation and living expenses. Means-testing should include both income and asset testing.”
Among the other reforms put forward were a national registration scheme for staff, and mandated minimum staffing ratios and 24-hour nursing supervision in residential care.
The Grattan model would require the Federal Government to spend an extra $7 billion a year.
But, the team added, the move would create an extra 70,000 jobs and help lift the economy out of the COVID-19 recession.
The report held that the new system should be phased in over three years, starting next year with a trial in the nation’s smallest states, South Australia and Tasmania.
In the meantime, Grattan called on the government to offer up a one-off $1 billion national rescue fund to lift the standard of care across the country.
“Australians already have universal access to health care via Medicare, and universal access to disability support via the NDIS. It’s time older Australians had universal access to aged care,” said lead author and Grattan Institute health program director Stephen Duckett.
“Australians should be ashamed of aspects of the present aged care system. Our report is a blueprint for something we could all be proud of – an aged care system that protects the rights, upholds the dignity, and celebrates the contribution of older Australians.”Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]