The final report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released in March 2021 describes the current aged care sector as fragmented.
The 148 recommendations are comprehensive, including a new Aged Care Act and the requirement for fundamental and systemic reform based on quality and consumer control in the Aged Care sector. Although most of the recommendations pertain to Commonwealth funded residential aged care facilities (RACF) and home care packages, some are relevant for state funded aged care health services and supports.
The report highlighted the need for greater access to specialists and other health practitioners through multidisciplinary outreach services to provide proactive care that will promote health and wellness, and harness consumer independence. Ongoing access to professional development is needed to ensure a workforce that is equipped to meet the complex needs and demands, including cultural safety, of the older population.
Recommendations have implications at a state level, with reform required in Multi-Purpose Services within WA Country Health. The Commonwealth Government has responded with an initial package of $452 million to strengthen services, governance and to provide financial support to those facing difficulties. Most of these funds will be allocated to Commonwealth funded entities, but some will be available to support health service delivery to older adults in WA. The newly formed Older Person’s Health Network will be working closely with the Department to enable these changes once funds become available.