May 25, 2010

AUSTRALIA: Who should pay for aged care services?

CANBERRA, Australia / Australian Government Productivity Commission / Caregivers / May 25, 2010

"Caring for Older Australians,"  a paper just published, gives details of the workforce to care for Australia's elderly..

Aged care services are delivered by formal paid workers, informal carers and volunteers. Services are also supported by, and are dependent on, doctors, nurses and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, podiatrists and pharmacists. The formal paid workforce is part of the broader health and community sector workforce.

In 2007, around 175,000 people were employed in residential care, and of these around 133,000 were direct care employees (Martin and King 2008). The direct care workforce is a mix of:

• registered nurses (16.8 per cent of the workforce)

• enrolled nurses (12.2 per cent)

• personal carers, including assistants in nursing (63.6 per cent)

• allied health workers (7.4 per cent).

The balance of the residential care workforce is non-direct care staff (such as cooks, cleaners and administrators).

In community care, around 87,500 people were employed in 2007, of whom about 85 per cent were direct care workers (Martin and King 2008). By occupation, the community care workforce is a mix of registered nurses (10.2 per cent), enrolled nurses (2.4 per cent), community care workers (82.6 per cent) and allied health workers (4.8 per cent).
The Sydney-based Australian Ageing Agenda reported today:
The nation’s peak providers have united with one voice to commend the Productivity Commission’s Caring for Older Australians Issues Paper and its potential for real reform.
“The Productivity Commission has covered all the bases necessary for a thorough assessment and understanding of aged care,” the Campaign for the Care of Older Australians (CCOA) has commented.

One of the most controversial topics addressed in the paper is funding. Inviting debate, it questions: “Who should pay for aged care services? [rc]

Source: Australian Ageing Agenda

Illustrative photo by courtesy, TopNews, UK