The Australian public will welcome more aged care funding, but the sector requires a rebrand. The $10 billion addition to the budget will be a centrepiece of the Morrison government’s May budget. It comes at a time when community trust is at an all-time low. The public has significant concern about the adequacy of care provided to older Australians.
Trust is down further
Faster Horses tracks community sentiment towards the sector through the Inside Aged Care series. We have consistent data on attitudes to the sector since 2018. We followed up our annual measurement with an instant poll in March 2021, immediately after release of the Royal Commission final report. Sadly, this showed that trust in the sector has declined further since July 2020.
Being well regulated and adequately funded has also slipped
There is also increased concern that the sector is well regulated. 68% disagreed with this statement in March 2021 vs 45% in July 2020. And we see an increase in agreement that the sector is inadequately funded, with 74% agreement in March 2021 vs 60% in July 2020.
But more people agree that people should be able to age at home
It’s likely that Australians will be pleased to see the majority of the additional government funding earmarked for improving in-home care. Our data shows stronger agreement that people should be able to age in their own homes. This has now reached 84% agreement, up from 74% in 2020.
Reform needs to ensure standards are improved
Most Australians are looking for reform that ensures the quality of care delivered is of a consistently high standard. Plus we see that Australians want a sector that is far more open and transparent.
Our recent instant poll also reflects a previously identified trend. Generally we find that people receiving care and their families are significantly more positive towards the sector than those without a direct connection.
A sector rebrand is needed
But the sector requires a rebrand to showcase the positives experienced by those who use its services. Tell the good news stories!
Even though the Royal Commission uncovered many stories of inadequate care and neglect, it’s clear that when people are exposed to the aged care system, they observe the dedication and professionalism of the majority of the workforce. And this makes their perceptions of the sector far more positive than those without firsthand experience.
The challenge is to address community concerns in a way that differentiates the current service offer from this recent past. Providers that place highest emphasis on quality of care and invest in the capacity and capability of their workforce are more likely to succeed in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Inside Aged Care 2021 is coming soon
The Inside Aged Care 2021 study will take place in May 2021. Contact us to find out how to respond to demands of the Australian public in the sector. Faster Horses consults to a significant number of aged are providers on branding, CX, EX, product and service development and corporate reputation.