Regional Development Australia - Wheatbelt
An Australian Government Initiative

The Need for Reform - Aged Care Submission

RDA Wheatbelt - The Need for Reform: Aged Care in the Wheatbelt Region. Download the full report

Since 2012, the Wheatbelt region in Western Australia has been working to develop innovative models that enable older people to remain in their communities across regional WA.

Addressing current and impending needs for aged care services presents real opportunities for economic and jobs growth across regional WA. If we can get it right, the social and economic dividends are considerable.

Regional WA has an older population profile than the State and is encountering the increasing need for aged care. Contextual issues include:
   o sparse and geographically dispersed ageing populations;
   o shifts in policy and funding at a State and Federal level including the consumer-directed care model; and
   o significant and sustained demand for aged and home care services from a regional aged population growing at faster rates than metropolitan Perth. 
 
• Four reports have been developed that identify solutions to enable older people to receive the care they require in their community. These include the Central East Aged Care (CEACA) Regional Solutions Report, Wheatbelt Aged Support and Care Solutions (WASCS), the Wheatbelt Aboriginal Aged Care Framework and State Wide Ageing in the Bush Report (SWAITB).  These reports can be  found on the Wheatbelt Development Commission’s website at:  https://www.wheatbelt.wa.gov.au/publications/aged-care/
 
• The Reports identify four critical elements (or “Four Planks”) necessary for holistic place-based support and care for older people being; Age-Friendly Communities, Age Appropriate Housing, Home Care and Support and Residential Aged Care.
 
• Key issues identified throughout regional WA include:
   o projected growth and the impact on community;
   o viability of regional aged care service providers in ‘market failure’ settings;
   o widespread unmet demand for residential care and older persons housing;
   o uneven availability of support and care in the home including respite care;
   o varied circumstances across rural WA in relation to the context in which care may be provided for older Aboriginal people;
   o the importance of transport services to access services; and
   o the criticality of strong telecommunication systems to deliver tele-health and easy access to information to facilitate consumer choice.
 
• A number of possible models to address state-wide issues have been developed, these include:
   o ‘Bundling’ of services (including aged and NDIS) across a geographic ‘footprint’ to ensure service sustainability;
   o Housing cluster model to facilitate efficient and effective care delivery and blunt the demand for high cost residential care;
   o Refreshing the MPS model to meet contemporary standards and delivery costs in rural and remote settings; and
   o Innovative Aboriginal care solutions.
 
For more information please contact Mandy Walker Director Regional Development mandy.walker@rdawheatbelt.com.au T: 0428 372 179