What will residential aged care look like in a decade?

    A focus on an individual’s preferences and enablement will shape the future of Residential Aged Care.

    Bryan Mason, Director of Seniors and Supported Living at Churches of Christ Care explains how the biggest change in the Residential Aged Care sector is, and will continue to be, an emphasis on how people wish to live their life.

    This change in paradigm is the key to meaningful ageing.

    At Churches of Christ Care, our Positive Wellbeing Model of Care is underpinned by a comprehensive understanding of the residents’ personal preferences.

    We have seen in Community Care a focus on preference-driven care and in Residential Aged Care, I think the same pattern will occur.

    Over the next decade, clients will have greater autonomy to determine where money and resources are delivered for their care.

    Listening to and delivering on people’s wishes is a direction we have already committed to, and one I see being implemented sector-wide.   

    In economic terms, it’s transitioning scarce resources away from government and provider decision-makers and into the hands of the consumer who will be more responsible for directing that funding. And they will do a better job of it.

    The most exciting transformation will be a change in culture. A move away from aged care based on a medical model to a focus on people living life to the full.

    Changes in our language may be subtle but they can be significant. Questions will be asked differently. ‘What can we do for you, the retired pilot or avid bushwalker, rather than referring to the bloke with the hip replacement in bed 27?’

    The industry needs to ask, ‘How can we make the rest of your life enjoyable, comfortable and abundant?’

    A continuing challenge will be maintaining our workforce. Strong changes in recruitment needs to take place.

    Working in aged care has historically been dismissed as less attractive than a fast-paced hospital setting. A key change for our industry is understanding and embracing the social benefits of work and making a positive difference to someone’s life.

    No longer can task-related responses be definitive criteria for employment. Yes you will still need to know how to change a bed or clean a room, but the focus must be on the person first, not the task.

    This purpose and passion is what we need to get right in our workforce culture.

    The future in caring and supporting older people must include maintaining, and even building, capabilities and potential, not simply managing decline.

    The original story appeared in the May-June issue of Australian Ageing Agenda.

    Posted May 23, 2017 in Seniors blog