CPSA was never among those who predicted that without the implementation of the Productivity Commission’s funding recommendations the aged care system would fall over.
For consumers the aged care system fell over a long time ago.
Understaffed nursing homes. Terrible food. Neglect. Abuse.
As mentioned earlier, if the Government were to push for the building of accessible apartments and townhouses clustered around a dementia wing and hospice, older people would be queuing up to buy into them, very keen to sell their family home to move into something where they could stay until they died and which would be a valuable asset of their estate.
Let’s call them care clusters.
Think about it. You are worried about what will happen in the future. You sell up and buy a residence in a care cluster.
The care cluster could be a strata-titled development. A body corporate runs the place, not a nursing home baron.
The body corporate, apart from running the building, hires community aged care. Residents not happy with the quality of care? Out goes the provider, and a new one is hired.
The problem with bad quality of care in our current nursing homes is that you can’t fire the care provider, because the care provider owns the building.
That’s why all those audit reports on nursing homes keep saying nursing homes comply with the standards.
That’s why the standards are so wishy-washy; it can always be argued that homes comply.
The separation of the building management function and the care provision function is also entirely consistent with the distinction the Productivity Commission made between the cost of accommodation and the cost of care.
Care clusters would represent a move away from institutionalising and hospitalising people. Instead they become part of a community.
Even those that need to be cared for in a dementia wing remain close to their partners, who still occupy the residence in the care cluster.
Care clusters would also deal with the conundrum presented by the fact that people want to age and eventually die in their own home, which has generally speaking not been designed to accommodate people with mobility problems, something everyone who lives long enough is going to experience.
You can install all the grab rails and ramps you want, your typical home will not accommodate someone who needs to use a power wheelchair.
Care clusters, built according to universal design principles, would accommodate power chairs.
The Apartments-for-Life approach taken by the Dutch aged care provider Humanitas, which is very much the care cluster approach, is extremely popular.
So popular, that its CEO reported people try to bribe him to get in.