The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released its final report in February, strongly urging for investments in digital and overhaul of Australia’s aged care system.
The report was developed over two years through consultations with over 600 witnesses and more than 10,500 submissions.
Among the 149 recommendations made in the report are several pushes for the Australian Government to utilise emerging technologies to improve the quality of care for ageing citizens.
Recommendation 34 proposes that, from 1 July 2022, the Australian Government should insert an assistive technology and home modifications category into the aged care program.
Under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged care pathway, Recommendation 53 specifies that the Australian Government must provide infrastructure and facilities, such as video conferencing technologies, that will help to connect remote communities to health providers.
Aged and clinical care providers are urged to adopt digital care management systems (including electronic medication management systems) and My Health Record under Recommendation 68.
Recommendation 109 pushes for investments in ICT architecture, technology and infrastructure.
The report also made non-ICT related recommendations surrounding reform and funding. The commissioners emphasised the need for a new Aged Care Act to set the rights for aged citizens and called for an end to weak regulation and governance, endorsing an independent body to set aged care costs. The final report also includes recommendations surrounding fees and funding, urging the government to provide universal funding for care services. The final report also calls for wage increases and improved work conditions for personal care workers, and a new national registration scheme.
The Federal Government announced a $452 million funding package, which includes $190 million for temporary financial support and $92 million to develop the workforce, in response to the report.
If the government adopts the recommendations suggested in the report, we may see a transformation of the entire aged care system over the coming years.