A new model, commissioned by the ACDHS, allows policymakers to see how different policy settings will affect the number of allied health workers needed in Australia over the coming years.
Currently, Australians receiving aged care are on average only receiving 8 minutes of allied health care a day. The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended that be raised to 22 minutes a day to bring Australia in line with international standards.
To achieve 22 minutes a day by 2033, Australia would need to train another 25,000 allied health professionals. Due to the high demand, obstacles to supply and the overall time required to increase the number of fully qualified allied health professionals, the training would need to start today.
Professor Terry Haines, ACDHS Deputy Chair, says that it’s time for a national conversation about the levels of allied health care we and our loved ones are going to receive in old age.
“The amount of allied health care currently received by Australians in aged care compares poorly with the international benchmark cited by the Royal Commission of 22 minutes a day,” says Professor Haines.
“But we need to consider whether even that is adequate. It’s possible that raising the amount of allied health care in aged care could yield even better results and create greater efficiencies for the Australian health and aged care sectors. Increased levels of allied health care can be associated with better nutrition, less falls and injuries and improved health and wellbeing outcomes for older Australians.
“If we were to say that 30 minutes of allied health care a day is better, we’d need to scale up to training an additional 38,000 allied health professionals over the next decade to work in the aged care sector.
“Either goal is a massive task for the tertiary sector to undertake and we need to be planning for it, preparing for it and working with government to realise it now.”
The ACDHS is urging the government to declare whether it is willing to back the Royal Commission recommendation of 22 minutes of allied health care a day.
“If the government is not willing to back that benchmark, then they will need to back research to understand what level of allied health in aged care is adequate to deliver care to residents and prevent an undue burden on the wider health system,” Professor Haines says.
Download the Aged Care Allied Health Workforce Modelling Report to find out more.