How can we fix the aged care sector’s trust issues?

Man in aged care

 

We are now firmly in the midst of an aged care crisis. Looking forward beyond the Royal Commission into Aged Care and the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector will have to deal with lack of trust from the general public in the aged care industry across the board.

To rebuild trust in the industry, transparency and clear communication will be key. Transparency within aged care starts with navigating the system and admission process. Every provider presents their information in a different format, making it difficult for client to compare, and every client’s situation and care needs are different. This will never be a simple process, there are just too many variables when it comes to each client. However that does not mean the process can’t be transparent. In this situation transparency means understanding and if clients understand they have choice then they will trust themselves to make good choices and trust providers to deliver what they promise.

The introduction and admission process can often be disorganised, overwhelming and complicated, with bureaucratic paperwork and misinformation. Clients can be lost simply because no one returned their call. Each facility requires different information to be included on their admission paperwork – some expect the client to disclose their full financial position before they will even allow the client to tour the facility, and I know of one facility that will not even disclose if they have a vacancy until after the client has submitted their paperwork. This process is exhausting for individuals trying to navigate aged care options for the first time, and we believe that it needs to be streamlined to be uniform across the board – one basic form for all facilities should be adequate to begin the introductions stage.

 

Making aged care easier

While providers are mostly willing to give the client a breakdown of their fees prior to admission, the issue arises from the fact that the actual cost of accommodation and care can be confusing when comparing the numbers, including considerations such as Centrelink rules and pension entitlements.

For example, with residential aged care, one facility may have annual fees of $550,000 plus an additional $45 per day fee, while another might have an annual fee of $950,000 with no additional daily fee. Essentially, these options are equivalent when broken down into a daily fee.

There needs to be more transparency around these figures in order for clients to have a proper understanding of the breakdown of costs and the implications it may have on their Centrelink entitlements. We often recommend our clients see an accredited aged care financial planner. This guarantees they have full disclosure regarding fees when they signed a permanent residential aged care contract.

We have been listening to the industry and to the clients, who are becoming more educated and more demanding in what they expect. Organisations need to understand these concerns and allow clients to feel heard, keeping in mind that each situation is different and the same approach may not suit every client.

While simplifying the process is of utmost importance, it’s critical that we don’t stifle providers from offering a variety of options, as everyone’s needs and preferences will differ. The positive of opening the industry to the market is variety and choice; the challenge now is to make sure that clients have genuine choice. As an independent voice, My Care Path is able to clearly explain the differences between the facilities and whether they suit your situation.

 

Case Study

Mary is 94 and recovering in hospital from a recent fall. She no longer feels safe at home and would like to consider her options. Mary’s daughter lives 50km away and her son lives 5km away but is not home most of the time.

Facility 1 has posted her information to her home, yet she is in hospital.

Facility 2 wants to visit and assess her in hospital before they will offer her a bed.

Facility 3 wants all their admission paperwork completed, including financial disclosure and Centrelink assessment letter, prior to any offer of placement taking place

Facility 4 will accept her from a hospital referral as they have several shared rooms vacant.

Without the help of an independent body like My Care Path, Mary is moved by the hospital to Facility 4 in a shared room as she is unable to assess her options.

With the help of My Care Path, all facilities are reviewed and identified as unsuitable based on price, room size and location. Three alternate options were identified based on Mary’s care needs, location, size and quality of room and vacancy. Based on the information provided by My Care Path, Mary selects a single room with private ensuite and beautiful garden view, knowing that if it does not work out we can reassess her choice. The family is happy that they now have more appropriate facilities to choose from, and the facility is happy that they are not wasting valuable resources trying to support a client who will not fit into or benefit from their community.

Do you or someone you know require an aged care solution? Contact us today and make an inquiry.

What services can help me place mum or dad into aged care?

When you’re considering placing a loved one into aged care, it can be an overwhelming and emotional experience.

Unfortunately, many Australians don’t think about aged care until they have to – and may not realise they do not have to go through the process on their own.

In today’s blog post, My Care Path aged care expert Dana Sawyer breaks down the help that is currently available for families looking to place a loved one in aged care.

When should I start thinking about aged care?

For many families, there are warning signs your elderly parent or loved one will need an aged care service years before they enter an aged care facility.

They may have suffered a fall which has limited their mobility, are struggling with daily household tasks such as gardening or cooking or may be showing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

It is best to start planning for aged care as soon as you notice these warning signs to find out what your options are.

You may have a perception that there aren’t many options, but the Australian aged care system offers extensive aged care choices for different individual circumstances, is heavily subsidised by the government and is designed for the elderly to stay in their own home for as long as possible.

Why is it so important to be proactive in aged care?

If you wait until an emergency, entering the aged care system is much more likely to be a stressful experience.  

In fact, you may find your loved ones are forced to enter an aged care facility fulltime when they would have been able to remain in their homes for longer, if they had accessed aged care services ahead of time.

If you find help when the early warning signs start, you will be much better prepared for the journey to come.

Independent Aged Care Consultants – Helping you navigate your aged care choices

Placing a loved one in aged care is often an emotionally exhausting and stressful process, particularly if you are not familiar with how the aged care system operates.

This is why a number of aged care consultants are available throughout the country, who can offer independent advice on the best aged care service for your individual needs.

What can an aged care consultant help me with?

An aged care consultant can provide the following services:

  • An initial assessment of your aged care needs
  • Recommendations on the type of care that is suitable for you, such as home care or an aged care facility
  • Provide a short list of recommended facilities and home care providers within your area
  • Organise and manage tours of the short-listed facilities
  • Explain the different costs and fees, as well as negotiate fees with an aged care provider on your behalf
  • Advocate for your care and help to change/move facilities if you are not satisfied with the aged care service provided

How much does an aged care consultant cost?

The cost of an aged are consultant can range from anywhere between $2000-$3000, however this cost can be reduced to $550* by engaging a My Care Path consultant.

My Care Path is a national aged care consultancy service, which has partnered with the largest aged care providers in Australia to reduce the rate of accessing an aged care consultant 80% below market rates.

We strongly believe that everyone should be able to afford the help an aged care consultant can provide, to make the transition into aged care as smooth as possible.

How can I contact an aged care consultant?

Simply head to our contact page, where you will find the best phone number and email to get in touch with a My Care Path consultant.

Where else can I research my aged care options?

You can use an online aged care directory, such as Aged Care Online to search for aged care care providers and facilities in your area.

Aged Care Online allows you to search for facilities in your area as well the specific care you need, whether it be home care, residential care or retirement living.

*Terms and Conditions apply.