Push for face-to-face aged care support

The aged care royal commission is hearing from experts about proposals to overhaul the current digital system, with most calling for face-to-face support.
The aged care royal commission is hearing from experts about proposals to overhaul the current digital system, with most calling for face-to-face support.

PEOPLE trying to access aged care services would get more face-to-face support under an overhaul proposed by the royal commission.

The aged care royal commission wants older Australians and their families to get much better information to access the services they need.

It would be done primarily through face-to-face support, backed by a website and contact centre.

The University of Technology Sydney’s Professor Mike Woods says the move would solve a number of problems.

“The face-to-face navigation role is absolutely fundamental and will solve a lot of problems where people just get lost in the system and therefore drop out (because) it’s too hard,” he told the royal commission on Monday.

The aged care royal commission wants older Australians and their families to get much better information to access the services they need.

Patricia Sparrow, chief executive of non-profit providers Aged and Community Services Australia, also backed a shift away from the current system of a call centre and website with limited face-to-face help.

“I think we’ve got an opportunity now to flip that and give more people the face-to-face support (they need),” she told the Adelaide hearing.

“If we design a system that’s going to support more vulnerable people better, the system will actually work for everyone well.”

The royal commission’s interim report says many people aged in their 80s and 90s trying to use the telephone and internet-based My Aged Care entry system find it frightening, confronting and confusing.

The commissioners labelled My Aged Care a costly exercise that had failed to provide adequate information to people about what was available and how to access it.

In a submission to the inquiry, the federal health department agreed there should be more support for people to understand and navigate the system.

The department said the government was considering the important role of assessors in providing initial face-to-face contact for older people.

It noted the government was also funding a number of aged care system navigator trials that had a strong focus on face-to-face support to help people better understand and navigate the system.

The royal commission is holding a two-day hearing about proposals to redesign the aged care system, which its interim report found is failing and needs fundamental reform.

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