Impacts of funding changes to residential aged care

Elderly individuals have different special care needs that should be addressed to ensure they live a happy, healthy, and longer life. The residential aged care sector plays an important role in this matter. But aged care homes or facilities need sufficient funding to provide the elderly with the best services that they need and deserve.

Australia’s Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) is a significant tool that could assist this aged care concern. This mechanism evaluates the needs of the residents and determines the government funds to be allocated to aged care facilities or providers.

Current ACFI vs Revised-ACFI
The current ACFI consists of 12 care needs questions. The funding categories or domains include activities of daily living, behaviour, and complex health care, and can be classified as levels high, medium, low, and nil.

A revamp in the current ACFI has been proposed by the original creator. The Revised-ACFI intends to include fewer and simplified questions. The current domains and levels will be maintained, but there will also be a new therapy program for pain management, as well as other possible options for external assessments.

Analyses on the Revised-ACFI
Consultancy firm Allied Care Group (ACG) has launched an analysis on the effects of the Revised-ACFI on residential care funding. After examining eight facilities, the Australian Ageing Agenda report on the analysis of ACG has found that aged care facilities will likely lose over $6,000 per resident per year due to the proposed changes.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) and accountancy firm Bentleys SA are also currently conducting an analysis, which probes the effects of the funding revamp. By using data from facilities, they aim to analyse the domains of the Revised-ACFI and assess the range, size, and variety of facilities. ACSA and Bentleys SA expect to complete their analysis before the end of 2018.

Healthcare professionals, including occupational therapists and physiotherapists, support the Revised-ACFI. ACSA prefers to maintain the current ACFI, while Leading Age Services Australia urges the Australian government to reject the Revised-ACFI.

Analysis of the Revised-ACFI sheds light on the impact it will have on residential aged care. The main question is whether, given potential reductions in funding and changes in services, will the elderly still receive proper treatment and care, and be able to live an enjoyable quality life.