Current state of allied health for aged care residents even worse than Royal Commission finding

Published 21 June 2022

Aged care residents receive less access to allied health care services now than they did a year and a half ago when the Royal Commission into the Aged Care system first identified this ‘woeful state’ of affairs, says the national peak body for allied health, Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA).

AHPA’s latest policy brief shows that a person in residential aged care receives an average of 5.3 minutes per day of allied health care. The Royal Commission finding was eight minutes a day.

‘To make matters worse, the new funding model for residential aged care, although an overall improvement on the previous approach, does not even mandate a minimum amount of allied health services. Instead, it will be left to aged care providers to decide how much of their funding to allocate,’ says AHPA’s Chief Executive Officer Bronwyn Morris-Donovan.

‘And we know that total aged care funding from the last two federal Budgets is already not sufficient to cover anticipated cost increases, such as much needed wage increases for personal care workers.’

Ms Morris-Donovan says that while the previous Coalition Government gave assurances that allied health funding would not be less than under the previous funding model, this is ‘cold comfort’ given the Royal Commission findings.

‘The Royal Commission recommended that allied health be treated as an intrinsic part of aged care and be provided to every resident according to their needs. This requires a fully funded system of clinical assessment and management so that each person gets the right types and frequency of allied health services.’

‘Labor’s election commitment to increasing nursing staff in aged care is essential. But nurses and personal care workers can’t do their jobs effectively without having allied health working to improve residents’ reablement and wellbeing – as the Commissioners recognised.’

Read the full media release: Allied Health Professions Australia media release aged care 20220620

For further information read AHPA’s policy brief on residential aged care released on 21 June 2022.