The Evolution of Aged Care in Australia

The Evolution of Aged Care in Australia

Australia’s aged care or elderly care delivers services through various care types to cater to the ageing population’s diverse needs. It includes various services, from essential support to enable people to remain independent at home to living in aged care homes with full-time care. 

Australians receiving government-subsidised aged care in Australia can utilise the services. So if you have the question of ‘Where did it all start?’ read this article to the end to time travel to the pre-Australian times and get yourself enlightened!

The Backstory of Aged Care in Australia

Long ago, since the 18th century, aged care homes were considered hostels for seniors who could not take care of themselves anymore, including disabilities like mobility impairment, high care morbidities, and cognitive decline, including dementia.

The concept of aged care for elderly Australians arose in 1890. According to records, these protective asylums provided necessary food and water support. However, a few years later, there was a spike in the number of inmates as their loved ones disclaimed many. And most of them were men since families took women into homes for childminding and housework. 

Aged Care in Australia in the Mid-90s

Before World War II and the 1900s, aged care services developed. Most were community-run, funded, or started by not-for-profit religious and philanthropic groups. 

From 1963-1971 there was a spike in the nursing homes and appropriate healthcare equipment. Alongside this, the Government regularly reviewed these aged care services and came up with constant reforms. And since the demand for senior care centres was higher, the nurse population could only cater to some individuals, resulting in poor care.

Later after the 1950s, the Federal Government incorporated laws to propagate building accommodations for the frail elderly who required disability support services. However, this was not tolerated by many baby boomers, which led to the revolution of the elderly care buildings into resort-style accommodations for a high-end corroborating neighbourhood environment.

Elderly homes: Situation after 2011

According to the reports of the Productivity Commission, since 2011, older Australians have faced a revolution in the aged care system. They have become more of a consumer-centred aged care system where simultaneously there was a cost spike in the offered packages that included;

  • Nurse call systems
  • Internet-enabled communication 

The aged people could get the services delivered to them without leaving home through technology-based services. Yet some gaps are constantly worked out by the home and community care services to develop a separate aged care workforce to provide adequate, timely, and humane care delivery.

Aged Care Homes after 2019 

In recent times, aged care services have expanded to support over one million people, according to the Department of Health 2020. And over 800,000 people use home support from the Commonwealth Home Support Program. 

The home care packages supported over 100,000 people from their homes. And till now, there has been a constant spike in the elderly care facilities in Australia. 

Developed from a comprehensive consultation process that included advice from the National Aged Care Alliance and the CHSP Advisory Group, it aids in securing the future of elders in Australia.

Elderly aged care during COVID 19

Elders living in Aged care centres and homes were highly vulnerable during the pandemic. However, some packages had certain benefits to enjoy keeping them safe and sound. These included;

  1. Seeking health services through telehealth services
  2. Additional temporary Medicare items
  3. Restricted visitors

However, even the senior care centres had some restrictions on functions unless there was an emergency.

Elderly care after 2021

The report from the Royal Commission on March 1, 2021, highlighted the gaps in the facilities. It put forth 148 proposals that included detailed strategies to modify and enhance the aged care system.

Some of them are:

  1. High-quality care 
  2. Educated and skilled workers to provide compassionate care
  3. Better food and nutrition
  4. Dementia care
  5. Use of restrictive practices
  6. Palliative care
  7. Development of new standards, guidelines, and indicators to improve aged care quality and safety, including a star rating technique for comparing various Disability support services

This response overlapped with the dismissal of the 2021–22 Federal Budget, which included $17.7 billion for aged care package reformation and obliged to substitute the Aged Care Act 1997 with a new consumer-centred Act.

How have elders benefitted from aged care?

Australia’s aged care homes have touched and transformed many lives. Over 1 million older people received adequate age care services until nearing the end of life. In addition, over 700,000 people received home support via the CHSP, and over 100,000 received care through home care.

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