The emergence of a two-tiered system in residential aged care in Australia is happening before our eyes, though it’s not what we expect to see. There are two reasons why we don’t want this: first, because for-profit providers are often associated with lower quality care and second, they could cost more financially. Is Brisbane ready for a two-tiered aged care system?
The major cities are currently being dominated by the commercial sector, while the residential aged care in regional and remote locations is still operated by the non-profit sector. The Department of Health and Ageing said that the numbers of for-profit residential aged care sector have increased more than twice than the non-profit sector over the last 10 years. In terms of aged care beds, the private sector has acquired 46 per cent increase, while the non-profit sector lagged behind with only 19 per cent.
According to the lead researcher from University of Technology, Sydney, there are evidence that large for-profit providers offer lower quality of aged care. Richard Baldwin cited that these providers also have lower nurse to resident ratios, which put them in a risk of not meeting the minimum quality standards in aged care.
The government needs to decide whether we are going this direction for aged care. They should provide a long-term vision for aged care to prepare us for what is coming in the future. And since for-profit providers are said to have lower quality of care, this means residents may have to acquire “luxury” services on top of standard amenities to feel comfortable. This means paying more additional service fee that leads to costlier aged care fees.