Aged Care Royal Commission Recommends Insights, Grants for Assistive Technology

May 5, 2021

On 1 March 2021, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety tabled its Final Report in Parliament. Entitled Care, Dignity and Respect, the report was presented by Royal Commissioners Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs, AO. It marks the country’s step towards an improved aged care system that will lead to a better quality of life for older Australians.

The Royal Commission listed 148 recommendations that affect positive change in the aged care industry in the report. These recommendations are wide-ranging, from protecting older people’s rights to access quality care to the inclusion of technology in improving aged care as a whole. In this article we’ll be focusing on the three recommendations most relevant to Tunstall Healthcare, our clients and our partners:

  • Provide assistive technology that encourages independence
  • Encourage the use of smart technology in elderly care
  • Develop an interconnected aged care data system

Among the many recommendations on the Royal Commission’s list, we’ll highlight their insights on assistive technology and modifications category and show you how Tunstall Healthcare can fill this role.

Provide assistive technology that encourages independence

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2019 Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 1.9 million Australians aged 65 years and over represented 44.5% of the country’s population with disabilities. This sparked a need for assistive technology, as in 2018 alone, 53.1% of the elderly population that lives with a disability used aids or equipment because of their condition.

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology, or AT, are tools or equipment that help the elderly and people with disabilities move around their own homes or communities, communicate with others, or process information more easily. Examples of assistive technology are wheelchairs, voice amplifiers, fall detectors, and home alarm systems.

The Royal Commission recommends that the Australian Government should be able to provide assistive technology and home modifications that help elderly Australians live independently by July 2022. This includes goods, aids, equipment, and services that empower the aged population to safely perform tasks independently.

This is especially important for seniors living with disabilities. Apart from provisioning support during their old age, assistive technology can help the elderly perform everyday tasks independently, even while managing a disability.

Encourage the use of smart technology in elderly care

COVID-19 has amplified social isolation, especially among the elderly. As a response to this, care providers are recommended by the Royal Commission to include smart technology into their services, to help people stay connected even when they cannot physically be together.

What is smart technology?

Smart technology helps the elderly and disabled individuals to wirelessly interact with people and their environment through Bluetooth or the internet. Examples of smart technology can be found in many senior centres, such as intercoms and GPS locators.

Including smart technology in aged care systems encourages older Australians to develop their social connectedness. Computers and smartphones connected to the internet help the elderly safely keep in touch with their family and friends, wherever they may be.

Apart from promoting social connectedness, smart technology also promotes convenience in the aged care industry. A great example of this is the growing acceptance of telehealth or remote consultations among the elderly. Consulting a doctor from the convenience of one’s home means avoiding the hassle of waiting at the doctor’s office, reduces the number of physical trips to the hospital, and can help minimise exposure to others who may be unwell.

Develop an interconnected aged care data system

Making technology a normal part of aged care means creating a system that safely collects and connects the patient and caregiver’s data. In line with this, the Royal Commission recommended a National Aged Care Data Asset to be built. The commission envisioned this as a public database that records the following:

  • Demographics, clinical characteristics, and care needs of aged care recipients, and the aged and health care services they use
  • Demographics, skills, wages and conditions of the aged care workforce
  • Financial performance of aged care providers, the quality of care provided, their ownership types, operating segments, and size
  • Other characteristics deemed relevant by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) to analyse the aged care sector’s functions

With the National Aged Care Data Asset, the Australian Government can make data-driven decisions that can truly address problems in the aged care system. Securing an elderly care database also helps support aged care research that can inform future policies.

More importantly, making the database available to the public means elderly Australians can also have easy access to care providers. Care providers can also use the information to improve their current services and adapt to rising issues as they come.

Tunstall Healthcare: Your Go-To for Assistive Technology

Part of the Royal Commission’s recommendations is to ensure that assistive technology is made more accessible through grants as part of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). These grants make accessing AT that much easier for the elderly.

If you’re eligible to apply for the CHSP or other government support programs, Tunstall Healthcare can help you or your loved one find the best assistive technology for your needs. You can contact our friendly Sales team via phone or email to request a quote.

As the leading provider of elderly assistive technology and living solutions, we’ve made it our mission to empower thousands of people across Australia to live safe, independent lives. With over 60 years of worldwide experience, Tunstall Healthcare is committed to supporting the elderly and people with disabilities in their pursuit of living safe, confident, and independent lives.

We provide personal safety alarms for the elderly and around-the-clock monitoring services complete with access to our professional care consultants. If you want to learn more about our elderly care solutions, please contact us today.