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This paper investigates whether the quality of care differs across Australian aged care facilities with the financial means of the residents.

The topic was investigated initially by reviewing public submissions to the Royal Commission and the views expressed by the public in a series of focus groups. In the public submissions from or about people with lower financial means, older people with low financial means saw themselves (or were seen) as having less choice and being more at risk of financial stress when making decisions in times of crisis. But otherwise these submissions describe issues which are common for people in the Australian aged care system, regardless of their financial means. Focus group participants believed people with greater financial means are more easily able to find a comfortable aged care facility and a higher quality of service.

The topic was then investigated using quality indicator data from across the aged care system. Facilities were grouped based on the share of residents ‘supported’ (meaning their accommodation was partially or fully paid by the Australian Government) and whether the facilities receive revenue for extra and/or additional services (‘extra services’ for brevity) which is more common among facilities with low shares of supported residents. A small number of the quality indicators showed statistically significant differences between these groups of facilities but the large majority did not.

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Research Paper 19