Service diversity is key to aged care transformation

01 March 2021

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) welcomes the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report and its emphasis on placing those being cared for at the centre of the aged care model.

BCCM CEO, Melina Morrison said the Royal Commission’s report confirms that the current model is chronically broken but that it will take more than additional funding to fix the issues highlighted by the report.

“Aged care reflects our society back to us – it demonstrates what we consider to be an acceptable way to treat our citizens in a civil society,” said Morrison. “We have to do better than a system that people are fearful to enter, a medicalised model that removes agency and dignity from members of our families and our communities.”

Self-determination is at the heart of the Royal Commission’s Report Final Report: Care, Dignity and Respect.

“Supporting people to age with dignity requires real reform of this system. The voices of those who need care and those who deliver care must be included, moving ageing Australians from passive recipients of care to actively determining how they live their lives day to day – individualised care for individual needs.”

In February, BCCM released a report Action to Empower: Why Australia needs more co-operative and mutual enterprises in health, community and social services.

“As a people centred business model, co-operative and mutual enterprises (CMEs) provide an option for structuring aged care services that the needs of older Australians and the people who care for them first. Action to Empower finds that business model innovation will be key to successfully transforming the aged care sector to improve the outcomes for Australians and the ROI of tax-payer funded aged care.”

Action to Empower calls for greater diversity and choice in Australian health, community and social services in Australia.

Gillian McFee, Non-Executive Director of Kudos Services, an employee-owned mutual delivering disability services for children and young people, and author of Action to Empower said, “The report is a call to action to demonstrate how targeted policy measures focused on enabling different forms of ownership, can increase diversity and choice in social services in Australia with positive outcomes for the quality and productivity of those services”

McFee said: “Australian and overseas case studies included in Action to Empower highlight the importance of democratic governance where consumers and workers are active members of community service organisations like aged care.”

“As an example, the report highlights extensive research demonstrating the relationship between employee ownership and high levels of consumer engagement which, over time, drives better service quality and organisational resilience.”

Action to Empower argues for more co-operative and mutual enterprises in Australia’s aged care system as a way to diversify service provision and increase choice for consumers and empower aged care workers.

Morrison said: “This is not about preferring one type of provider over another. Rather, this is a way to foster innovation and governance changes that will transform how aged care is provided in Australia to be more aligned to community expectations.”

In Action to Empower, the Council advocates strategies for fostering a culture of innovation in aged care by:

  1. Increase awareness of co-operative and mutual enterprises in aged care reform
  2. Demonstrate how ownership can drive different outcomes in aged care
  3. Creating an opportunity for innovation hubs in areas of need highlighted by the Royal Commission, and
  4. Involving co-operative and mutual enterprises in aged care reforms to help achieve cultural change in aged care.

You can read Action to Empower in full.

You can listen to Melina Morrison talking to Fran Kelly about Action to Empower and Aged Care on ABC Breakfast.

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