You are here

Report

Indigenous aged care

31 May 2017
Description

The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of Australian Government-funded aged care services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high level criteria:

  • Is there an effective framework in place to support access by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to quality aged care services?
  • Do the Department of Health and the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency have effective frameworks to oversee the delivery of aged care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
  • Does the Department of Health have appropriate arrangements in place for monitoring and reporting on the achievement of program objectives and supporting the cost effectiveness and service continuity of aged care delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

Conclusion

Australian Government-funded aged care services are largely delivered effectively to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The ageing of Australia’s population and growing diversity among older people, in terms of their care needs, preferences and socioeconomic status, are placing pressure on the depth and agility of Australia’s aged care system. There are additional challenges in ensuring access to culturally appropriate care and service continuity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly for those living in remote and very remote communities. Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may also have language or cultural preferences that influence their specific requirements.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program has been effective in increasing the access to culturally appropriate aged care services for elderly Indigenous Australians. The direct selection and recurrent funding approach of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program provides few opportunities for new service providers to enter the market. There would be benefit in the Department of Health extending the application process to new service providers and better aligning the funded places with service capacity.

The Department of Health has developed sufficient guidance materials and provides supplementary funding to support Indigenous-focused services that operate under the Commonwealth Home Support, Home Care Packages and residential programs. However, not all Indigenous-focused services are aware of the Department of Health’s sector support programs.6

The Department of Health and the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency have been largely effective in their administration of Australian Government-funded aged care services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Each entity has developed sound administrative arrangements to manage the delivery of aged care services and to review the quality of care delivered through aged care programs. The Department of Health can strengthen its administration by implementing a coordinated approach that ensures the timely sharing of relevant information to facilitate risk assessments across the Ageing and Aged Care Group.

Consistent with its policy intent, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program is a more cost effective and viable model for specialised aged care delivery to Indigenous Australians when services are located in remote and very remote communities. A 25.8 per cent share of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program funding is allocated to services located in major cities and inner regional areas. To optimise recurrent funding decisions, it is important the Department of Health ensures that the existing service providers, their location and number of places, remain the most appropriate.

Given that the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access aged care through Commonwealth Home Support Program, Home Care Packages Program and residential aged care programs, further work is required by the Department of Health to maintain the service continuity of Indigenous-focused service providers in areas where there are no culturally secure alternatives. The Department of Health has an opportunity to leverage its datasets to improve the targeting of sector support initiatives to Indigenous-focused services and to monitor the ongoing impacts of aged care policies and programs on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Publication Details
Identifiers: 
ISSN
2203–0352
ISBN
978-1-76033-253-2
Publication Place: 
Canberra
License Type: 
CC BY-NC-ND

342

326
Share
Share
Subject Areas
Geographic Coverage
Advertisment