I have been tracking various residential aged care data and some interesting comparison figures for two decades now since the Aged Care Act came into being in 1997.Please allow me to say right upfront – collecting relevant and appropriate data from indices can be difficult and not always truly comparable.
The data represented below is purely to make us think, and perhaps identify for providers at least, why it seems to have become so much more difficult to maintain a high quality residential aged care service today to people with more pressing multiple morbidities than ever before.
Clearly, by comparison, our funding foundation has worsened over the past twenty or so years.
Some time back during one of our regular Braemar senior leadership meetings in 2017, we decided to take the lead in protecting our residents from influenza by offering complementary flu vaccines not just for our staff and residents, but also volunteers and the families of those in our care.
This week, free vaccinations were available at Braemar Cooinda and Braemar Village, while next week we will be providing the vaccines to those at Braemar House.
This move predated the recently announced Government plan to mandate all aged care providers to provide free flu vaccines to their staff. It was a decision we took as we felt it was an effective way to help reduce the risk of influenza entering the aged care environment.
The idea to expand the service to families and volunteers was developed by the Braemar team under the direction of Renee Reid, General Manager of Workforce. When chatting to Renee, she expressed the team’s desire to ‘meet and exceed best practice levels to reduce the risk of our health and care professionals contracting flu or passing it onto our residents,’ which to me demonstrates a commitment to resident health and wellbeing across the organisation.
I might just be getting old, but not a year goes by that I don’t think more deeply about Easter. Don’t get me wrong, I really love Christmas, and from the perspective of being a follower of Jesus, that is obviously a very special milestone of my faith. But Easter … Easter is the cornerstone event of my relationship with Jesus Christ.
In late January and early February 2018 I had the privilege of joining the Global Conference on Integrated Care (“GCIC”) in Singapore. I am delighted to say that for me this was the most beneficial conference that I have attended since my re-connection to the aged care sector in August 2016.
Every nation represented at the Conference shared information about their significantly growing healthcare budget and rapidly ageing population. All nations have health and aged care systems that were created for a previous generation. They are not designed for the massive ageing population growth that require more and more health, social and aged care services.
As often as I remind others of the difficulties aged care providers, their workforce and clients are confronted with, I remind myself that we belong to a bigger system of health and social care provision.
Many parts of that system attract what seems to us, by comparison, to be outrageous funding. Maintenance care only in a hospital costs approximately $1,200 per day. A day of care in an intensive care unit costs $6,000 plus per day. That is not to say of course that these services are not important and desperately needed.
I am about to board a plane for Singapore where this week I will be speaking at the GCIC 2018 conference on integrated care.
My topic will look at where the industry may go next in its clinical governance responsibilities. I thought this was interesting to look at twenty years on from the introduction of the Aged Care Act in 1997.
I will share my full paper next week and explore some further ideas following the conference. In the Essay, I have strived to briefly describe the history of residential aged care in Australia and show how economic drivers that largely determine the funding of care may also be diminishing the clinical appropriateness of care. This can place care recipients, providers, and program funders alike potentially at risk of failure of service in financially constrained times.
Wayne Belcher (OAM) will speak at the Global Conference on Integrated Care at the start of February, where he will present an analysis of Australia’s aged care sector, two decades after the Aged Care Act (1997) was implemented.
His presentation will cover areas including the history of aged care in Australia and how it has transitioned from basic care homes to a major industry, a review of the care models currently being employed as deregulation takes effect, and a review of clinical governance.
International experts from the USA, UK, Canada and Hong Kong will be among the conference speakers, which will take place at the Resorts World Convention Centre in Singapore from 1- 3 February 2018.
I have been working back in the aged care sector since August 2016, and as many of you know I have been the Chief Executive Officer of Braemar since March 2017. A few weeks back I did seek comment from colleagues and visitors to my blog about these “end of life choice” matters. Thank you to those who have pondered, commented, and otherwise contributed on these things.
Pain, suffering, and distress are existential. The desire to end one’s own life is based on existential circumstances with perhaps the view that there is little hope for any future improvement in life’s outlook. The majority Christian view still is that Christ offers hope for an end to all suffering, but that happens at the natural end of this life – not a life brought to early closure. The endurance of pain and suffering can seem intolerable, and the grasp of hope seemingly so far away. We must develop ways in which we can assist to bridge the perceived gap between the existential pain and future hope by how we manage our pain, symptoms, and suffering and sense of loss; yet contemporaneously offer support to others afflicted by such suffering, grief and loss.
Two quite important matters are being discussed by parliamentary committees here in Western Australia over the next twelve months or so, and I seek your advice, attitudes, and thoughts on these matters.
The first matter, and also being discussed by the New South Wales and Victorian Parliaments respectively, is around “end of life choices”.
I seek your advice, attitudes, and thoughts about this important matter.
I recently chaired an afternoon session for a “Law in Aged Care” seminar in Perth. It was a very useful day’s focus on the myriad of interaction that aged care providers have with the law daily. There can be matters associated with town planning, local government, occupational health and safety, fair work, accreditation and liability issues, and that might be just before morning tea …
In October 2017, the residential aged care sector reaches twenty years since the enactment of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth). As I recall, for Western Australians it started on Monday 1 October being a public holiday Monday. The then new Act was a mighty and useful change from the Aged and Disabled Persons Homes Act and the Health Act. Whilst it has not all been plain sailing the Act pertaining specifically to aged care has, in my view, served Australia well.