REPORT: Putting health care back into aged care

12 Apr 2021

Older people have the same right to quality health care as any Australian. Sadly, this right is often not realised, as the Royal Commission has shown. Furthermore, this is projected to become worse as our population ages and demand for aged care and health care services increase. 

This report by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Putting health care back into aged care. The AMA’s recommendations align with the Royal Commission’s views for genuine person-centred care, however, the AMA recommendations differ in some aspects of achieving this. The full report is available from the AMA and can be downloaded from the AMA website.  

RECOMMENDATIONS 

To achieve the necessary solutions, the AMA makes the following recommendations:  

  1. Increase Medicare rebates for nursing home attendances by GPs by 50 per cent to compensate for the additional time and complexity involved in comparison to a GP consultation in their own rooms. (modelling and detailed costing provided in full report) 

  1. Introduce MBS telehealth items for phone calls between the GP, nursing home staff and relatives. 

  1. Introduce a Medical Access Aged Care Quality Standard for nursing homes. 

  1. Introduce Care Finders who work closely with GPs to coordinate both health and aged care services. 

  1. Introduce hospital aged care outreach teams in all local health networks, in coordination with a patient’s usual GP. 

  1. Ensure that Aged Care Assessment remains with State health services which involve medical specialists, coordinating and collecting information from the older person’s usual GP.  

  1. Mandate minimum staff-to-resident ratios in nursing homes. 

  1. Mandate 24/7 on site Registered Nurse availability in nursing homes, and according to the level of residents’ needs. 

  1. Mandate a minimum qualification for personal care attendants that includes basic health care, and continuous training of the aged care workforce with specific funding attached for training.  

  1. Ensure interoperability between GP clinical and aged care software systems, including My Aged Care and My Health Record. 

  1. Ensure that Home Care Packages are available to all those who need them, at the level of their need and a maximum of three months following the assessment. (modelling and detailed costing provided in full report) 

The AMA looks forward to working with the Australian Government further as it reforms the aged care sector in response to the Royal Commission. 

Full report at download link.