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Caring for older Australians

Caring for older Australians: RACF vs the home

The Health Industry

The year 2022 brought with it a federal election in Australia, and many health care peak bodies included service provision in aged care facilities amongst their top priorities. These included:

  • Dentistry – The Australian Dental Association’s pre-budget submission included advocacy for a review of Vocational Education and Training certificate courses in aged care to include oral health as a core competency, and proposed a budget for $1.3 Billion per year for a Senior Dental Benefits Scheme and $13.9 Million per year for registered dental practitioners to become integral members of aged care teams
  • Dietetics – Dietitians Australia advocated for the aged care sector to engage Accredited Practising Dietitians to improve malnutrition screening practices and nutrition, food and dining experiences in aged care
  • Nursing – the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and Australian College of nursing both welcomed the news of increased Registered Nurse to resident ratios in private aged care facilities
  • Pharmacy – The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia welcomed the announcement to progress funding for onsite pharmacists in aged care
  • Physiotherapy – following the federal election, the Australian Physiotherapy Association was still calling for better access to physiotherapy for those in aged care, those living with dementia, and those living with chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease

With the care residents will receive in aged care facilities set to improve, one possible flow-on effect is that this may impact the decision-making process families are involved in when considering care options for their older family members. For example:

  • Safety – will elderly family members be safer in their own homes, living with extended family, or in a residential aged care facility?
  • Independence – there are a range of considerations here, with the less obvious including a choice of incontinence products, and more obvious relating to outings and shopping
  • Personality – which living arrangement would be best for an introverted or extroverted older family member?

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