It’s been one year since the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended the raft of changes that are now resulting in new reforms across the home care services sector. In a statement released at the time, the Federal Government’s five-year plan was described as being designed to deliver respect, care and dignity for every senior Australian. Pillar one in the plan relates to reforms to care provided in the home, and this is creating new challenges for providers of home care for the elderly.
Key industry challenges for the sector:
COVID-19 disruption, including staff and client cancellations due to illness.
Workforce shortages, a long-term issue accelerated by COVID-19 and heightened by high support-worker turnover rates.
Changing legislation with the draft of the new Aged Care Act underway.
Increased competition as the sector grows, along with consolidation through mergers and acquisitions.
Changes to how providers are paid for Home Care Packages with the Improved Payment Arrangements.
Additional Government reforms and requirements with the new Support at Home Program for 2023, focusing on Recommendations 35 and 118 from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, as well as merging four current funding programs.
Additional reporting and auditing oversight.
An expansion of the Serious Incident Response Scheme to home and flexible care from July 1, 2022.
Australian Aged Care Industry Outlook 2022-2026
Although there are many challenges, with the certainty of ageing, the outlook for the industry is still one of growth and increased revenue (IBIS 2021 report and Ansell Strategic-The Third Wave). Australia’s birth-rate from 1946 to 1965 ballooned during the post-war economic boom in line with other western nations and became known as the ‘Baby Boom’.
This cohort of 5.5 million Australians (approximately 25% of the current population) is now creating a critical demographic turning point as they begin to turn seventy-five years of age, are living longer than previous generations and are choosing to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.
Following the Royal Commission Report, the Government responded with the allocation of more Home Care Packages.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said that “at the end of 2021, 217 724 senior Australians had access to a home care package - that’s up 25 per cent since the end of 2020, thanks to the rollout of the first of the 80,000 packages announced in response to the Royal Commission.”
“In the same period, the priority waiting list has come down by 29 percent and for those assessed as a high priority receiving a package within a month”, explained Greg Hunt, Minister for Health & Aged Care.
Australia’s changing demographics is a significant influence on the demand for and provision of aged care services. The aged care sector is facing an ageing population living longer with an increasing number of ailments, including memory and mobility disorders. It is projected that the number of Australians aged 85 years and over will increase from 515,700 in 2018–19 (2.0% of the Australian population at the time) to more than 1.5 million by 2058 (3.7% of the projected increased population). With older age comes greater frailty. Older people are more likely to have more than one health condition (comorbidity) as their life expectancy increases (Aged Care Royal Commission Final Report Summary).
The Government is responding with new Support at Home initiatives for more equity, greater access and more support where needed, including access to a wider range of services, determined by need and considering differences in service usage patterns and resource requirements. This initiative will result in a new program, a new funding model and a new assessment tool.
As described in Ansell Strategic’s The Third Wave of Consolidation report, “it is in troubled times that fortunes are made and innovation emerges. Consolidation is inevitable, but there will be scope for diversified service models within this changing environment.”
Embracing technology to enhance operations
It is critical for home care providers’ viability to respond to these challenges by developing contemporary practices, implementing fresh strategies and innovation, while embracing new technologies for improving care delivery and client value.
AlayaCare Cloud is optimising operations and enabling providers for Better Outcomes.
AlayaCare is well positioned to meet the forthcoming regulatory and transformational changes for the sector in 2023. Our extensive product and development teams have the capability and resources to help providers meet these new changes. A provider of choice in both the community and disability sectors, AlayaCare’s revolutionary SaaS solution is one of the leading client management solutions available in Australia.
AlayaCare Cloud is an efficient end-to-end platform with API’s to support integration. We manage clinical documentation, easy scheduling, funding variations, Allied Health and offer a completely mobile solution to support field workers. AlayaCare offers seamless functionality from client intake through to care planning, assessments, budgeting, scheduling, employee management, and billing and payroll, with an experienced implementation team able to configure the solution to meet your needs.
Our robust solution is supporting our customers with innovative initiatives and features such as our in-built data reporting tool and the forthcoming release of secure messaging and AlayaCare Marketplace, our new Provider Portal. AlayaCare’s extensive financial backing ensures that we have the resources to continue to sustain our customers well into the future, with a clear vision of where we are going with our product development.
To learn more about how AlayaCare can help your organisation improve outcomes and navigate emerging changes in the sector, Contact us today.