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3 November 2018 | Aged Care

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety


Words by Lutheran Services’ Interim Chief Executive Officer John De Angelis

Lutheran Services is a not-for-profit organisation and registered charity that operates 10 residential aged care services and 12 home care services across Queensland. With our first service founded in 1935, our mission is to ensure the best care, respect and support is provided to older Australians and those in society who are most in need.

We support the Government’s decision to ensure the current and future care and wellbeing of older Australians is protected. The Royal Commission will shine a light on how the aged care system currently works and pave the way for a better future.

As one of the larger providers in the aged care industry, Lutheran Services was invited to provide an early submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

In the submission, Lutheran Services shared information around the quality of care provided over the past five years to 30 June 2018, along with improvements implemented and a series of initial recommendations for the industry moving forward.

Our aim is to continue to evolve and improve our services, safeguarding the quality of life for seniors now and into the future – to ultimately deliver better outcomes for older Australians.

Please find a summary of our recommendations to the Royal Commission below.

  • Funding – a funding system that recognises the additional costs of providing aged care services in rural, regional and remote locations, which is often provided by not-for-profit providers.
  • Staffing – addressing the issue of providing the right workforce (recruitment, upskilling and retention) in rural and regional care settings.
  • Clinical – better integration between all levels of care; technology-based patient portals; incentives for GPs to work in aged care settings; better access to specialist geriatric and neurological services.
  • Quality and compliance – greater emphasis on quality performance measures, rather than a transaction-heavy compliance model.
  • Person-centred – a less institutional approach to aged care; providing a person-centred approach; giving individuals more control; a more sensitive funding instrument to support this.
  • Home care – faster access to Home Care Packages; greater funding of home care in regional and rural areas; rapid rollout of higher-level Home Care Packages to bridge the gap between home support and full-time residential aged care.
  • High care needs – funding for smaller, more highly specialised care environments for residents with high care needs.
  • Dementia – a community-wide approach to dementia support with more precise diagnostic services and management plans.
  • Special needs – better care environments for people of all ages with special needs.
  • Palliative care – greater resources for palliative care training and support across both the healthcare and aged care sectors.
  • Mental health – recognition of the complex care needs of older people with mental illness.
  • Infrastructure – incentives for not-for-profits (as significant providers of care to concessional residents) to improve care infrastructure.
  • Technology – technological aids for sharing resident history, maintaining mobility, monitoring falls and connecting residents with the wider world.
  • Innovation – incentives for exploring innovative care environments, multifaceted supported living communities, creative engagement, supported recreation and travel opportunities.

We are doing whatever is needed to protect our older Australians and our strong track record for more than 80 years speaks truly to that. This really is a watershed moment for the industry, we are focused on addressing the challenges and we look forward to seeing much-needed improvements for the sector across the board.

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