There are several reforms and reviews currently taking place in the aged care and disability sectors which the government has announced. These are significant reforms which will shape the sector over the coming years and decades. However, with all these reforms it is sometimes difficult to put into perspective what is most important.
I want to share with you 2 perspectives on delivering service to people in need in our communities this, one as a manager of a service provider, focusing on quality services and secondly as a carer of an elderly parent who has significant needs and requires occasional support. These perspectives are equally important and with the same outcome.
Firstly, as a manager…looking at the population trends and the support older Australians will need in the future, there is a very significant gap between what is provided and what the needs are. This gap will widen as a greater number of people will be over 85 years of age and one in 5 Australians will be over the age of 65 as we head towards 2050.
Additionally, people’s life expectancy will increase from an average of 83 to 89 in the next few decades and this will mean that people will need to be supported for longer in their homes and communities. The demand for service will dramatically increase.
The challenge for service providers is to be more flexible, mobile and responsive to the needs of our clients. The need to manage quality of services with a continued focus on cost effectiveness and efficiencies will be a significant driver in the sector.
As a carer, the demands are very different and very personal. The needs of my elderly parent are around after-hours support, transport and social engagement in the local area. Most importantly is the ability of my parent (and I) to rely on the consistency of services and staff such that working relationships are formed and trusted over time.
To achieve a win-win scenario, takes considerable effort on both sides, as services need to invest time and resources to offer services locally and clients need to be well informed and navigate the type and availability of services, with reasonable expectations.
There is an overwhelming need to creatively and innovatively support people in the communities and address the demands, as the future unfolds.
In my mind there two key approaches that the sector will need to embrace, the first is technology, which will be big part to respond and reduce wait times. Technology will be incorporated seamlessly into our services with sophistication over time. It will be important to harness the feedback and data from technology mediums to better inform the care we provide.
Another key part will be collaboration, as there is a real need to coordinate care and make services sustainable over a long term. Good working relationships between services will be crucial to increase efficiencies and reduce complexities for the clients. If there is a way that the organisations come together to agreed terminology and consistency of services, both the sector and clients are better for it.
Community Options Australia is committed to developing and supporting these approaches to create new business models that will address the demands of the future. Importantly COA will continue to collaborate with the sector and like-minded organisations to strengthen the sector and ultimately meet the needs of the clients we serve.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to be involved in these initiatives COA is now undertaking.
William (Bill) Campos