Australians expect high quality aged care. Why can't they get it?

A research paper, published in the lead-up to the aged care royal commission’s final report to be handed down on 26 February, highlights the need for change in the sector and shows there is strong community support for higher quality service delivery.

The research paper from Flinders University, which came out on Tuesday, used data from three national surveys conducted for the royal commission and found that the share of people who feel their care needs are always met is only 24 per cent in residential care, and only 20 per cent in home care. 

These results are for all key aspects of care, including whether care recipients feel appropriate action is taken to address their complaints.

The level of satisfaction was well below community expectations, with the survey of the general public revealing that at least 15 per cent of the public considered that people receiving care must ‘always’ have their needs met across all attributes for the care to qualify as ‘satisfactory’.

Even extending the view of ‘satisfactory’ care to mean that it ‘mostly’ meets peoples’ needs, aged care in Australia still fell short of this target with the share of care recipients meeting this lower threshold just 58 per cent for residential care and 50 per cent for home care.

In a separate survey, the authors found that most Australian adults viewed aged care as a vital social service, with all key aspects of care considered important or very important by the vast majority.

People with a greater understanding of aged care tended to have slightly greater appreciation of the importance of all aspects of care, while women and older people were also the most likely to consider all aspects of care to be important or very important.

The community’s strong desire for older people to be cared for appropriately was also reflected by the majority of current taxpayers agreeing they would be willing to pay more to support aged care.

The majority of current income taxpayers (61 per cent) indicated they would be willing to pay more income tax to support aged care.

These taxpayers were willing to pay an additional 1.4 per cent per year on average to ensure that all Australians in need have access to a satisfactory level of quality aged care, and an additional 3.1 per cent per year on average to ensure that all Australians in need have access to a high level of quality aged care.

Would you be happy for the federal government to spend more money on the aged care sector to ensure all Australians can access high-quality aged care? What are you expecting the from the aged care royal commission’s final report?

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Written by Ben

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