Aged care providers publish what they spend on food, care and wages

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The new tool is designed to hold aged care providers to account for how they manage their budgets. But it’s only as good as the data provided.

Already a subscriber?Shining a brighter light on some of the important aspects of aged care, such as how much is spent on food and care, is a welcome way toHowever, the information being presented through the government’s new “Dollars to Care” measure, which went live just over a week ago, is only as good as the data collected.

The measures used for assigning a star rating of between one and five include data about resident experience, staffing, quality measures and compliance.The validity of the data has always been a concern, mostly because it comes unchecked from the providers themselves. Complying with the regulations and standards within the Aged Care Act should be a big deal. It’s a key indicator to any older Australian or their family as to how a residential care facility is, or isn’t, operating.

Reading between the lines, when you are analysing residential aged care you have to accept that providers identified as failing to meet the standards under the act, which makes them non-compliant, have been contacted by the commission and will work to resolve the problem. It’s only when they fail to fix the problem that their star rating could be affected.All that can take months to play out.

The results of resident experience surveys and how they relate to key questions such as “Do you like the food here?” are also available. Reporting of so-called “care minutes” has been mandatory since October 2023. The new data gives a clear picture of a facility’s expenditure on care and nursing per resident per day and a breakdown of care minutes delivered by staff, including registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers.

The additional service fee of between $10 and $100 a day is for things which may well have been previously included as part of the deal for taking a room in a facility, such as television in the room, air conditioning and choice of meals.

 

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