Aged care reform report: Slippage in some areas significant progress in others

The Interim Inspector-General of Aged Care, Ian Yates, has expressed concern over significant delays in critical aged care reforms in Australia. In his first report since taking office in January, he warned that progress in enacting a new Aged Care Act and streamlining in-home care has fallen behind schedule.

The report acknowledges “significant progress” in several areas, including 24/7 nursing care in residential aged care homes, a star rating system for nursing homes, and improved pay for care staff. However, it highlights ongoing delays in foundational recommendations, particularly the Support at Home Program and the new Aged Care Act. These delays are seen as a cause for concern in the overall reform progress.

Yates also expressed concern about the postponement of the new home care program until mid-2025, despite the Royal Commission’s original timetable aiming for mid-2024. The program aims to consolidate in-home funding streams and support for home modifications to cater to Australians’ desire to stay in their homes longer.

The report also raises the issue of personal co-contributions for those who can afford it in both in-home and residential aged care. Yates argues that those with means should contribute to their care.

While the report commends the government for strong early responses to reform, it urges sustained momentum and timely decisions in implementing the Aged Care Act and the Support at Home program. The report assesses progress in various priority areas, including home care, quality in residential care, diversity, dementia, and financial sustainability.

In the foreword, Yates calls for continued efforts to bring ageing and older people’s issues to the forefront. The report is the first in a series of progress reports from the Office of the Inspector General of Aged Care, with legislative requirements for two more reports in the coming years, culminating in a major review by June 2026. These reports will provide comprehensive assessments of the progress and incorporate stakeholder engagement.

The full 93-page report can be found here.

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