Older Australians must have real choices on care
The Australian College of Nursing welcomes the proposed Federal Government reforms designed to give older Australians greater choice and control over aged care services, but wants assurances people will not be worse off under the new system. “A person-centred approach to care can have many advantages,” Chief Executive Officer of the Australian College of Nursing, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward said. “We want to ensure these advantages are optimised and risks addressed.” The planned changes are expected to offer improved flexibility for consumers, allow them to choose services that best meet their needs, and reduce red tape for providers.
However, it is vital people accessing aged care services can easily source information which clearly explains the new system and helps them navigate it. In particular, the rights of consumers and the responsibilities of providers must be plainly spelt out. The Australian College of Nursing is also concerned the benefits of the reforms may not be fairly shared across the community. “The idea behind the changes is to increase competition and innovation,” Adj Prof Ward explained. “In our rural and remote regions where there can be limited service availability, this goal may not be realised. “Choosing health care services can be daunting, not only for individuals, but also for families and carers doing so on behalf of loved ones. These changes must be supported by a system designed to integrate people and services easily, quickly and effectively. “I urge the Federal Government to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition throughout this significant shift in funding policy to ensure consumers are not left disadvantaged.”