Report: Implementation of the Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

Summary of the latest progress report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

On 8 October 2018, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was established to determine the quality of aged care services in Australia, whether those services were meeting the needs of the community, and how they could be improved in the future.

The Progress Report: Implementation of the Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was released on Friday, 20 October 2023. This report outlines the progress made on the implementation of the 148 Royal Commission recommendations. This is the first of two stages of the report, which provides observations about priority groups of recommendations and an overview of the implementation status. Stage 2 will involve more comprehensive stakeholder consultation on the impact of the recommendations.

Recommendations 9, 112, 120, 121, 123, 145 and 147 have been fully implemented. The implementation of the remaining recommendations is ongoing.

The implementation of recommendation 28: a single comprehensive assessment process is underway, with current negotiations for tender to deliver the assessment due later this year. However, stakeholders raised concerns about a lack of consistency in assessing the needs of the elderly in relation to allied health needs.

Recommendation 38: embedding allied health care within residential care has partially commenced. Progress made on this recommendation includes the collection of information on the volume of allied health service provision and expenditure through quarterly financial reports. Stakeholder feedback from the report outlines that

“The current Australian National Aged Care Classification funding model effectively excludes allied health professionals from the provision of direct care making the provision of services unviable by limited funding to 4% and that as a result allied health utilization in residential care is very limited.”

The IIG noted that an increased delivery of allied health in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) is critical to improve resident outcomes.

Limited funding for allied health was noted in the report to undermine the meaningful gains on reablement.

Stakeholder feedback in relation to recommendation 72: aged care recipients living with a disability to receive equivalent supports through aged care that they would be entitled to under the NDIS and 73: Annual reporting to Parliament by the Disability Discrimination Commissioner and the Age Discrimination Commissioner highlighted a level of disappointment and numerous gaps in the level of support for people receiving aged care with a disability.

Star ratings were noted to be of limited utility for allied health and can often mask significant flaws in the delivery of allied health services. A lack of clarity about whether allied health care has been considered in the implementation of recommendation 122: reporting of staffing hours was highlighted in the report.

The Royal Commission recommended that the Aged Care Act 1997 be replaced by the New Aged Care Act, which will be released for consultation in late 2023 before commencing on 1 July 2024.

Overall, some progress has been made towards the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations. However, there are still several recommendations that require implementation.

You can read the full report here.