Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA May-Jun 2017 Contents CDC is the future of residential care
Residential care has come a long way from traditional
nursing wards. We have moved from high-rises to
intimate private homes; integrated a variety of wellbeing
ser vices including retirement living, hotel and childcare
facilities; and new ser vice models that incorporate luxury
As providers push the boundaries, the big question is
which of these models will become the new normal, and
which will disappear?
In the space of less than two years, the consumer
directed care and Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms
have resulted in dramatic changes to the competitive
landscape of aged home care. These reforms have
transferred power to consumers to choose their care
provision, which will form a continued expectation as these
same consumers enter residential care over the next decade.
In residential care, we are seeing growing demand
for larger suites, concierge ser vices, full dining menus,
personalised recreational and therapeutic ser vice
packages, ser vices for guests and families, and access to
More broadly, technological advancements are enabling
higher levels of independence and delivery of complex care
in the home, thus delaying entr y into residential care and
transforming ser vice deliver y. These include telehealth,
remote monitoring, smart homes, connectivity, smart
diagnostics and medication management systems, robotics
and automation and virtual reality, to name a few.
The combined impact of these trends makes a compelling
case for residential providers to adapt or risk irrelevance over
the next decade.
First, ser vice deliver y needs to cater for a range of
lifestyles and enable continuity with family and community
connections. This may involve building flexible additional
ser vices models to finance these improvements.
Second, providers must enhance the provision of sub-
acute and palliative care. This requires more advanced
multidisciplinary care models with doctors, hospitals,
pharmacists and allied health providers
to deliver advanced care capabilities,
and also investment in staff training
and technology systems.
Third, innovative dementia care
models will be needed. Dementia
care is heading down the path of
purpose-built secure environments,
such as the Hogeweyk Dementia
Villages in Netherlands, to enable
consumers in residential care to
integrate with the community and
support their wellbeing.
Ultimately, the home care
reforms found many providers
unprepared for change. Residential
providers should take heed of this and recognise that the
traditional residential care model is already outdated and
needs to adapt to cater to consumer choice and rapidly
Engaging with consumers and their families to
understand their needs and preferences, and then finding
ways to deliver this effectively is the first step in the path to
staying relevant. n
Liz Forsyth is global lead for human services and Nicki
Doyle is director – health, ageing and human services at
Connection to community will be key
Within the next decade residential care
will progressively move to a palliative
Older people are entering care
frailer and for a shorter amount of
time. People don’t want to live in an
institution for five or 10 years.
With the rise in the number of people living with
dementia, our approach to dementia care has to be
rethought. Locking people up in a secure dementia unit is
against basic human rights.
People will want to stay in their homes for longer or live
in small-scale aged care developments.
Hospital in the home and in-home care will become
more popular. People will want to stay in their local
communities and suburbs.
As a society, we outsource many things and many things
are already mobile. We are able to bring ser vices into the
home. People are not going to go to hospital as much and
services can come to them.
Group Homes Australia is the closest thing to home.
Residents live in a home away from home; they have access
to 24-hour care and mobile ser vices instead of being
effectively locked up in a dementia unit.
Our model keeps residents in their local areas,
communities and suburbs. They live in a home that looks,
feels and smells like a normal home. Staff are known as
homemakers and wear normal clothes to work. All staff are
trained and have certificate IIIs and IVs. I also train our
staff in dementia and palliative care.
Residents participate in local activities such as going for
walks, going to the park or beach and going shopping to
the local shops. We focus on the person’s interests and they
have access to yoga classes, music lists, cooking or baking.
Local children visit weekly for stor y time.
From an urban planning perspective, the Group Homes
Australia model can be built faster than residential aged
care. It’s affordable as people are staying for a shorter
amount of time. Deregulation of home care packages
have given the consumer the option to choose their care
provider. This has not been available until now.
We live in the age of consumerism. This drives more
choice and freedom. Residential aged care needs to provide
more options to consumers. As a sector, we need to raise
the standard of care, whether in community or residential
aged care, within the next decade.
Of course, to do this, a skilled workforce is required.
Staff need to be required to undertake a certificate III or
IV, and they should specialise in dementia and palliative
Ultimately, the government needs to pilot and fund new
innovative care. The government talks about innovation but
it has so far failed to establish any pilot care initiatives. n
Tamar Krebs is CEO of Group Homes Australia.
Each issue, AAA puts a key questions to four industry figures, each
with a different perspective. If you have an idea for a question, get
in touch at email@example.com.
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