Retirement village operators take note: the Royal Commission is delivering you a ‘beautiful’ future

Published on

In December 1989 Paul Keating created the cliché ‘a beautiful set of numbers’, referring to the December accounts.

Yesterday, in Adelaide, Commissioners Lynelle Briggs and Tony Pagone presided over the Royal Commission’s first workshop of their proposed model for ‘the last 10 to 15 years’ of ageing.

Our editorial Director, Lauren Broomham, was there and reported in this morning’s The Daily COMMISSION newsletter “it quickly became clear Commissioners Tony Pagone and Lynelle Briggs seem set on their new model being the future of aged care in Australia”.

Their model is a beautiful rolled gold business plan for the retirement village sector. Let me explain.

Senior Counsel Assisting Peter Gray QC (pictured above) launched the workshop flagging the Commissioner’s model put forward may already be almost ‘in the bag’.

“The proposition might be quite developed and that’s in order to give focus to matters which we, staff of the Royal Commission, have decided need to be exposed and will benefit from ventilation in this format,” he explained.

Mr Gray then reiterated the eight key ideas proposed by the Commissioners on how the aged care system should be fundamentally changed.

When reading this list, I suggest you insert ‘retirement villages’:

  • support older people and their families to understand the system and get the services and care they need, including getting much better information and face-to-face support
  • streamline access to low intensity and cost-effective support services through an entry-level support stream to support a large number of older people to retain their independence
  • use clinically skilled and multi-disciplinary expertise in assessing eligibility for more intensive service streams
  • create an investment stream to fund interventions to help restore functioning, provide respite and delay or prevent progression to more intensive forms of care
  • create a care stream for services delivered either in the home or in more flexible and less institutional forms of residential care
  • move to individualised funding for care matched to need within the care stream, irrespective of setting
  • improve the availability of nursing and allied health services across the system.

In summary, the Commissioners want a supportive pathway for older Australians to age. They wish to separate accommodation and care as costs to the government and that care will start very early concentrating on wellness and reablement, to which the government will contribute funds.

Retirement villages provide separate accommodation. Village management can provide ‘care concierge’. Villages can provide basic but good wellness centres – gyms etc.

The Commissioners have indicated they support this simpler system, testing the ideas of individualised funding, systems navigators and simpler assessments.

Individualised funding is ideal for the retirement village sector.

Separate funding for accommodation and care is ideal for the retirement village sector.

An early systems navigator is ideal for the retirement village sector.

Now is the time for operators to come together with a combined strategy to put before the Royal Commission – it is concreting its thoughts in our preparation for writing its report in July – in 20 weeks time.

If this vision excites you, and you wish to learn more, join us at our LEADERS SUMMIT in Sydney Thursday 26 and Friday 27 March for an in-depth briefing. Read more HERE.

If you want to learn the daily discussions occurring around the Royal Commission you can subscribe to The Daily COMMISSION newsletter HERE.

The final word to Commissioner Briggs yesterday:

“I think the key issue for me is that you have all acknowledged that reablement is significantly under done in the current system…More radical versions of this going to Ms Nowlan’s conversations about quality of life would take you to what’s occurring in the UK at the moment through the national health system where the first question is to an older person given the high level of depression and concern and so on is ‘what would make you happy?’ And that’s quite different from any of the services that any of you have talked about or currently exist within this system”.