Home | Opinion | ‘More of the same’: Response to Taskforce report – Opinion
There is an issue with the taskforce report, writes Mike Rungie.

‘More of the same’: Response to Taskforce report – Opinion

The issue with the Aged Care Taskforce's recommendations isn't solely the proposed increased payments for residential care. It's about what value we'll receive for the additional investment, potentially up to $50k per year or more if we opt for additional amenities like cable.

It seems like we'll end up with more of the same, based on the current outlook.

Frankly, we're tired of expressing dissatisfaction with existing residential care. We don't want to reside in it, nor do we want to plan for it.

The Taskforce had a straightforward mandate: for aged care providers to generate sufficient profit to accommodate the projected doubling of demand by 2050, which is entirely reasonable.

However, why suggest achieving this by encouraging older individuals and investors to invest in a service they despise? Couldn't the Taskforce have explored care options that older individuals would be willing to pay for; ones that promote independence sustainably? Independence is incredibly precious to older individuals, after all.

Instead, the Taskforce chose to maintain the status quo, addressing built-in quality issues through increased quality control and innovation. However, their idea of innovation seems limited to systems and care enhancements.

What older individuals truly desire are lives reminiscent of their past 80 years, not just improvements in care protocols.

But the Taskforce's lack of vision regarding thriving as a frail older person isn't their only shortcoming. They believe innovation is spurred by money, intent, and opportunity. Yet, these factors are merely "preconditions" for innovation, as the report acknowledges, without delving into what truly drives it.

Genuine innovation occurs when someone is passionately dedicated to making it happen and relentlessly drives it forward. Vulnerable older individuals or providers tasked with doubling their service provision are unlikely to be the driving forces behind such innovation, even if they're financially invested.

So, Minister, may I propose one more recommendation?

Recommendation 24:

  • The Government will require and fund all providers to co-invent, with older people, care that sustains good frail lives in the development of their new residential facilities
  • These providers are required to report and share the impacts of their new care on the lives of older people at annual learning conferences
  • The Quality and Safety Commission will aim to develop entirely new principles for the development and impact measurement of new facilities within five years.

Mike Rungie is a member of a number of boards and committees, including ACFA, Every Age Counts, and GAP Productive Ageing Committee.

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One comment

  1. Is the problem that a medical model, deficit based conceptual approach is still unconsciously guiding thinking and design? What if the primary approach was to engage the heart and the mind, and then discreetly provide the physical supports that remove/reduce the barriers to active engagement in living. What would buildings and services look like from this perspective, and is it possible that we might want to pay a premium?

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