The Inside Aged Care Report is produced by Faster Horses Consulting, an insights agency in Perth, Sydney and Canberra. The findings from the report point to the need for a strongly collaborative approach between peak bodies, service providers and government.
Trust levels in the industry are unchanged since 2019, with 1 in 5 in the broad market trusting the industry. This is a sad number for an industry that is primarily in the business of looking after people.
Of concern, among those aged 60+ years, trust levels have decreased significantly since 2018, from 17% to 12%. This means that only 1 in 10 people, who are next in line to receive services from the industry, have trust in its capability to deliver.
These figures prompted Faster Horses and LASA to team together to host an inaugural Insights Symposium. This was held on 24 September in Canberra. It brought together senior minds in the industry to listen to the results of the Inside Aged Care Report 2019, and discuss their implications. It was attended by LASA CEO Sean Rooney and key team members, as well as representatives from government and providers in the industry.
The robust conversation and debate around the evolution required in the market identified interesting themes for consideration:
- Ageism in the broader market – There is a national culture of disregard for cohorts of the population not directly linked to the workforce. This includes our older citizens. A change in these perceptions requires a broader shift in perceptions of the value that elderly people bring to society. Instead of seeing the elderly as lacking relevance, we need to (collectively) harness the wisdom of their years and embrace the benefits that blended generational activities can bring to all of us.
- Willingness to pay for services – there is agreement that Australia needs a good safety net for people as they age. But with aged care the second fastest growth line item in our national budget, where are the funds going to be sourced to support further budget growth? How will funding need to be structured to be equitable? Is a universally funded care system possible?
- Workforce fatigue – there was recognition that the current workforce suffers from low morale and exhaustion. The Royal Commission rightfully focusses on the need for improvement. But the majority of those at the coalface work tirelessly everyday to ensure that this improvement happens, with little recognition of efforts. It is also important to support this workforce, encourage new entrants to spread the load and ensure that quality training programs exist to build high quality care delivery systems.
Clearly we have arrived at an Uber moment in the industry. The changes required are widespread. With the Royal Commission throwing a spotlight on the market, we need to leverage this amplified voice and push for change.
The inaugural Insights Symposium highlighted the benefit that can be derived from open conversations in the industry. At Faster Horses, we believe in keeping these dialogues going, bringing smart minds together so that solutions can be tabled across every facet of the industry that demands attention.
Thank you very much to those involved.