It was a pretty good turnout at Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens Racecourse this week for the annual ITAC conference, which was heavy on policy discussions surrounding the release of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report last year and the election of a new federal government this year that has made aged care reform one of its highest priorities.
That description would normally put the fear of god into the average punter but this year, something was different. Information technology in aged care is often one of the forgotten topics in the wider health IT and digital health sector, but in Australia at least, never has it been more important. And in our opinion, never before has there been such confidence that progress will actually be made in leveraging IT to assist in the fundamental reform of the aged care system.
To coin a phrase, time does move quite slowly in the aged care sector, but in the last decade in Australia at least, recognition that aged care has been severely ignored to the point of criminal neglect has finally filtered through. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, driven by some seriously good journalism from the ABC along with the long-term efforts of whistleblowers, has revealed what can only be described as an abject state of affairs in the residential aged care sector in Australia. And who knows what goes on it community aged and disability care.
Thankfully, the Royal Commission has been proved to have been a massive wake-up call and all sides of politics have committed to trying to fix the problem. It will be increasingly difficult as workers desert the industry due to low pay and over work, and that is something everyone really needs to come to grips with. Even with a newly elected government promising 24/7 registered nurses, an increase in weekly minutes spent on direct care per resident and more money spent on better food, the problems aren’t going to go away soon.