Submission: Aged Care Taskforce

AHPA provided a submission to the Aged Care Taskforce to provide them with background on the current state of allied health in aged care.

We reported that allied health care is significantly underprovided and underfunded, and so aspiring to an aged care system that genuinely meets older peoples’ assessed allied health needs will take resources that have not been sufficiently factored into aged care costing. AHPA argues these considerations are clearly relevant to any deliberations about future system planning and appropriate aged care funding strategies.

Our submission provides examples of how allied health practitioners provide clinical care with a focus on prevention of functional decline, along with early intervention and treatment to support a person’s function and quality of life and also reminds the taskforce that the clinical expertise of allied health professionals is also essential for supervising and upskilling the care workforce to deliver client-centred care, together with ensuring that clinical care standards are met – and thereby mitigating provider risks of non-compliance.

Our submission introduced to the taskforce the important evidence provided by the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) at the University of Wollongong on the paucity of allied health care provided in Australian residential aged care facilities. We also reminded the taskforce that the Royal Commission concluded that allied health should be regarded as a fundamental element of the aged care system and that the Royal Commission made multiple associated recommendations, including concerning the importance of multidisciplinary care.

Our submission argued for a fundamental rewording of Principle 1 of the draft aged care funding principles as follows:

Reablement – rehabilitation and restoring, or at least preserving as much as possible, older people’s capacities so that wellbeing is enhanced and/or maintained – is a central focus of residential and home aged care, and includes enabling and encouraging participants to remain in their home for as long as they wish and can do so.

You can read the rest of our feedback here: