The recent government pledges in the 2021 budget seem promising on the surface but delve a little deeper and it seems that all that glitters is not gold. Whilst it is most certainly a step in the right direction for a much-needed overhaul to the aged care system, there is so much more that needs to be done. More importantly, the way in which these changes are implemented will be the real key to success. Care360’s CEO Craig Swanger shares his thoughts on the how and the why.
More face-to-face aged care support
The government has committed to creating face-to-face aged care support in 325 Services Australia centres across Australia. They have also pledged to place aged care specialists in 70 additional service centres, in addition to spending $93.7 million to create a network of up to 500 local ‘Community Care Finders’ to provide specialist support to vulnerable seniors.
While this all sounds well and good, using the same department – MyAgedCare – to help seniors navigate their way through the mess created by the Australian government is surely the definition of insanity. The problem is quite simply this: MyAgedCare currently runs a phone-based service to help users navigate their system. Unfortunately, the service is notorious for dispensing different advice or answers depending on what day you call and who you speak to. This problem will be exacerbated by the fact that many of these government employees will be based in remote locations and unable to confer with colleagues in real time for clarification to answers – all at the cost of $93.7 million to taxpayers.
Face-to-face support is always going to be the best option when it comes to aged care support, and having staff in a number of local areas is a great idea, however these employees will need the tools to provide a consistently high level of service from whatever location they are in. The solution is actually extremely simple: set up a centralised technology platform that aged care specialists can use to quickly and efficiently help people find the right aged care home for their needs.
COTA’s aged care navigation system trial (for which it received $5.5 million in funding) has been helpful, but being 100% government funded it makes it very hard for COTA to be objective or oppose government initiatives. A better idea would be an independent body such as National Seniors or Dementia Australia to run these programs, in a similar way that the COVID-19 call centre support line works.
At Care360 Australia our mission is to simplify the process of finding and comparing aged care, delivering unbiased reports to help people make the best decision possible for themselves or their loved ones. The complexity of choosing from different financial, medical, location, care and lifestyle options can make finding the right aged care home one of the most stressful decisions a family will face.
Until now, there hasn’t been a single service that allows people to find the right aged care home without being exposed to conflicted advice from websites that are paid to recommend certain homes over others.
Care360 is the first of its kind. Independent. Transparent. Comprehensive. Our aim is simple – to help every Australian family, no matter what their means, find the right aged care option for their loved one. I certainly hope our government can get on board with our mission and implement the changes required to help our seniors navigate the aged care system easily and efficiently. Until then, Care360 is here to help.