Finally, it seems that our aged care sector is getting the attention it desperately needs.
The Aged Care Royal Commission revealed a grossly underfunded system, with countless incidences of abuse and neglect.
Since then, successive waves of COVID19 have hit the sector hard, leading to deaths, staff shortages and resident isolation and diminished care.
The recent federal election saw aged care in the spotlight with major parties committing to improving the system and featuring the issue in major speeches.
Paul Sadler has a wealth of experience in aged care from his years as a social work student in the late 1980’s, leading to a career in the sector spanning more than thirty years. He is now CEO of Aged and Community Services of Australia at a critical time for aged care in Australia.
Despite the failings in aged care, in his long experience, he has witnessed many improvements, notably in the physical quality of accommodation, and the expansion of aged care services, particularly the advent of the Federal Government’s My Aged Care as the starting point for accessing the aged care system.
Paul Sadler sees the current challenges as the long running underfunding of the system, estimated at ten billion dollars per year, and the need to address the workforce crisis made worse by low pay; constraints on immigration and the ongoing waves of COVID19.
As someone who has navigated aged care services for his own parent; Paul Sadler accepts that the aged care system is a confusing labyrinth. He advises that the starting point is My Aged Care, which has information on the different levels of care you can receive from help at home, through to residential aged care.
A team can assess you to help work out what government subsidised assistance you require, at home or a move into aged care. A one-off assessment by Services Australia (Centrelink) will determine your subsidy for residential aged care if that is what you choose.
The aged system is also improving its services to Australians from a non-English speaking background, with interpreter services and trial of ‘navigators’ to assist different culturally diverse groups access services.
As Paul Sadler points out, we will all interact with the aged care system in Australia in some way over our lifetimes, for ourselves or for family members, so significant improvements are in the best interests of all of us as our population ages.