The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety's final report has laid out an extensive plan to overhaul Australia’s aged-care system.
Among the 148 recommendations, the report calls for a new system underpinned by a rights-based Act, funding based on need, and much stronger regulation and transparency.
Watch: A man with early Alzheimer's brings Q+A host to tears when discussing aged care. Post continues below.
Over two years, through more than 10,500 submissions and 600 witnesses, the two commissioners heard extensive evidence of a system in crisis.
Australians might have expected the commissioners to provide one streamlined blueprint for reform.
But the commissioners diverged on a number of large and some smaller recommendations. This makes the already complex path to reform even more confusing. It reduces the power of the final report. More disappointingly, it gives the government room to pick and choose recommendations as the cabinet likes.
Nonetheless, if the major recommendations are adopted, Australia will get a transformed aged care system over the next five years.
Here are our top four takeaways from this landmark report.
1. Australia needs a rights-based aged-care system
In its recommendations, the final report highlights Australia needs a new Aged Care Act to underpin reform. The new Act should set out the rights of older people, including their entitlement to care and support based on their needs and preferences.
This would be a significant shift away from the current ration-based system, and would bring aged care more in line with the principles of Medicare.
Practically, this would mean the number of people in the system would no longer be capped — the long waiting lists for care would disappear over time. The current aged-care programs, such as home-care packages and residential care, would be replaced by a single program.
Under this new program, all older Australians in need of support would be independently assessed, and allocated care according to their personal needs and preferences — whether at home or in residential care.
This is a huge step forward, and, with the right support, would enable older Australians more choice and control over their care.