Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2015 Contents YOUR HOTEL BATHROOM was
dirty? Your meal arrived cold?
That shop assistant was a little
rude? Many of us think nothing
of dashing out a review on things
we do and buy, with websites
rating everything from cafes to
You check Urbanspoon
before you book a table and
read Tripadvisor before you
choose your hotel --- so should
aged care be any different?
While the sector has largely
remained outside this consumer-
driven system, that is changing,
with a flurry of review and
ratings sites launched or in
PRICE AND QUALITY
ARE NOT THE SAME
It is a trend that has accelerated with the
listing of facility prices on the My Aged
Care website, which --- while increasing
transparency around cost --- says nothing
about the care those funds will buy.
"Price is only one part of a value
equation," says Rachel Lane, who leads
the Aged Care Gurus network of financial
advisors. "Just as you won't pay $100 to eat
at McDonalds but you might pay $100 to eat
at Vue De Monde, people want to know that
the price they are paying represents a certain
level of quality and that's not unreasonable.
That's where rating systems are good as they
help inform that judgment, as if you just look
at a facility on price alone it won't tell you
quality or value."
THE SOURCE OF THE
Lane says her clients frequently ask for advice
on choosing a facility, and are referred to
placement agencies or told about emerging
sites that might help. But she believes caution
is needed in how facilities are rated.
"Public sites that don't measure whether
the person making a review is in a position
to make a proper judgement are quite
dangerous," she tells AAA.
is accessible, has functional
common areas or offers a
Ansell says the decision to
make the self-rating tool free
was driven in part to reassure
the sector. "One of the areas
of resistance was that people
who had older homes get
nervous because they don't
want to advertise that they have
a 2 or 2.5-star home and even
providers of modern homes
might only want to rate those that
are new and not any older ones,"
he tells AAA.
"We have made the self-rating
free and it takes about 30 to 45
minutes to do. It then gives you
a self-rating number that might
give you 4 or 4.5 circles, which
is the self-rating measure as it is
with hotels. If you want to have an assessor
come out, they will then use your self-rating
and verify it. That then results in a star rating
and there's opportunity for consultation."
An accredited rating costs $1,900 for a
single facility, $1,750 each for 2-10 facilities
or $1,650 each for 11 or more facilities.
The developers have worked with larger
providers in test sites to see if the measures
back up what Ansell calls his "gut rating" of
how a facility feels when walking in.
"We have tweaked the tool enough
now that even in those cases where we
have adjusted down the self-appraisal, the
provider has been pretty happy with the
outcome," he says.
Ansell says he is personally uncomfortable
with comment-based rating sites but
understands the rise in their popularity. The
goal of AgedCareRatings was to offer an
independent, professional voice, he says.
"I find [review sites] are usually populated
with extremes of views: they have either
had a great experience at the restaurant or
a terrible experience," he says. "I expect
there will be more of those sorts of ratings
as consumers get a greater say in services
but this is an opportunity to get some more
AAA puts an important issue
under the spotlight, examines the
background and considers the
implications. The issue: consumer
review sites in aged care.
The rise of the reviewer
By Ruth Callaghan
"A rating system done by someone
who is an industry expert who has the
necessary background knowledge and
can walk into a facility and form a really
good judgement --- well that's why we use
"As financial advisors we walk into a facility
and notice the same thing a client would: are
the furnishings pretty, does the food smell
good, are the staff happy. But you aren't
there for pretty curtains. You are there for
really good care," says Lane.
RATINGS SITES ARE
There are different approaches being taken
to assess quality, including applying to aged
care the same kind of ratings used by hotels.
Ansell Strategic's Cam Ansell has co-
founded AgedCareRatings.com.au with
Ben Hannemann and Dana Sawyer from
Millennium Aged Care Placement Consultants.
The new site provides self-reported and
accredited ratings using a detailed tool that
measures categories including physical form,
catering, staff culture and activities.
Each category has numerous indicators, so
the rating of the building might include whether
it is old or modern, home-like or institutional,
WHAT THEY SAID
ask for advice
choosing a facility
review sites usually
extremes of views
initial idea of being
24 | JANUARY -- FEBRUARY 2015 | AAA
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