Australia’s aged care industry is currently undergoing a period of profound transformation and reform. This transformation is driven in large part by the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Among the critical issues highlighted by the Royal Commission, one key aspect that cannot be overlooked is the need for more allied health services in aged care. After the Royal Commission, the federal government endorsed the recommendation that the average total allied health minutes provided to residents Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred. Today, allied health services have almost halved to an average 4.6 minutes per resident per day.
To rectify this, the government must now include allied health services within the mandatory registered nurse (RN) care minutes.
The Royal Commission report highlighted instances of neglect, abuse and a lack of appropriate care, causing substantial suffering to older Australians. While the report encompassed various aspects of aged care, one of the key takeaways was the pressing need for comprehensive healthcare services, including allied health, to be a central component of aged care provision.
Allied health professionals play a crucial role in promoting and maintaining the health and wellbeing of older Australians. These professionals encompass a wide range of disciplines, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, podiatry and dietetics. Their expertise addresses the holistic needs of aged care residents, going beyond traditional medical care.
Allied health services focus on enhancing the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of older individuals. By including allied health services within mandatory care minutes, residents are more likely to experience improved mobility, better mental health, and increased overall satisfaction with their lives.
Allied health services offer preventative care measures. Early intervention can help prevent the development of chronic conditions, falls, and complications associated with ageing, ultimately reducing healthcare costs and enhancing residents’ quality of life.
Allied health professionals tailor their services to meet the specific needs and preferences of each resident. This person-centred approach ensures that care plans are individualised, promoting dignity, autonomy, and a higher quality of life for elderly Australians.
Allied health services are particularly beneficial for residents with dementia. Services can significantly improve communication skills and help individuals maintain their independence for longer periods. By proactively addressing health issues through allied health services, the aged care sector can reduce the need for emergency hospitalisations, which can be traumatic and costly for residents.
The findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety have made it abundantly clear that Australia’s aged care industry must undergo substantial reforms to ensure the wellbeing and dignity of its older citizens. The inclusion of allied health services within mandatory care minutes is not just a recommendation; it’s a necessity. By embracing a holistic approach to aged care that encompasses physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, we can provide our elderly population with the care and respect they deserve in their twilight years. This transformation will require collaboration between the government, aged care providers, and allied health professionals to ensure a brighter future for Australia’s ageing population.
We need your help in securing the government’s commitment to improving quality care, alleviating the staffing crisis and increasing allied health care minutes per resident per day by including allied health services into mandatory RN care minutes.
Please show your support for the Australian allied health industry in aged care by emailing Annika Wells, Ministerial Office for Aged Care or Sport related matters at Minister.Wells@health.gov.au.
Please send her a link to this blog or implore her to consider the information you have received today on why it is imperative that allied health in the Australian aged care industry be a mandatory, adequately funded service for residents.