Only one in five Australians trust the aged care system, survey shows

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Insights agency Faster Horses has released its latest ‘Inside Aged Care’ report – and the findings show the pandemic has done little to change people’s views of aged care in the last year.

The annual survey – which samples over 2,000 Australians – found just 15% of people aged between 60 and 80 have faith in Australia’s aged care system – the same proportion as in 2018 and 2019.

Just one-third (32%) of those using an aged care service had a high level of trust in their provider, while only 33% of those with a relative or loved one receiving aged care services had trust in the system – also similar figures to the previous year.

Overall, just 22% said they trusted the aged care system.

Only one-quarter of respondents said providers had handled COVID well

The community’s perceptions of how the sector had handled COVID were also relatively low, with only 23% saying that the sector had managed its COVID outbreaks well.

Again, those over 60 were most critical, with just 13% of those aged 60 t0 80 agreeing with this statement.

Interestingly those who did have a relative in aged care were more likely to agree (32%) that the sector had managed the pandemic well – indicating that families had a better understanding of the efforts to support their loved ones this year.

There also appeared to be a more positive view of aged care providers with nearly half (44%) of respondents agreeing that organisations treated those in care with respect and consideration (up from 38% in 2019), and 43% saying organisations showed empathy towards those in their care (up from 38% in 2019).

However, the responses also reflected the shift away from residential care to home care with 74% saying the Government should focus on ensuring people can stay in their own homes – up from 69% last year.

Time to change perceptions in the market place

Speaking at LASA’s Ten Days of Congress yesterday afternoon, Faster Horses Managing Director Veronica Mayne said it was clear that the negative media around the sector was having an impact – and providers have a shared responsibility to “change the shroud that hangs over the industry”.

“It’s really important that we all get together and tell the good news stories,” she said.

Will this be where the sector’s new community awareness campaign comes in?