Consumer advocate Council on the Ageing (COTA), and aged care provider peak bodies Leading Age Services Australia (LASA); Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) and the Aged Care Industry Association (ACIA) are among the stakeholders officially supporting this increased transparency and in turn improved outcomes with the Affiliate Agreements, instigated by multi-platform media company DPS Publishing (DPS), with Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt also welcoming the commitment.
DPS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Ogden says the Agreements between all parties are about working collaboratively to ensure consumers are better informed when making care choices, as well as opening up the conversation between consumers and providers to create an increasingly transparent aged care sector.
He says he sees DPS’ solutions, delivered in partnership with Care Opinion Australia, as solutions for both the industry and its consumers and adds that partnering with these “key industry players” will result in the best outcomes and greater transparency.
“These innovative tools enable older Australians and their loved ones to find and compare services, including pricing, as well as being able to comment on their experiences; with aged care providers also able to present the services they offer and have an interactive experience with the consumers who have made comments.
“We are very excited to be working with the Affiliates - initiatives like these are needed now more so than ever to enable the transparency that consumers are demanding from the sector.
“Each of the signatory stakeholders bring core areas of expertise and specialisation that complement each other, delivering a superior outcome through this collaboration.
“We are all very excited for what this Agreement will bring because we truly believe these solutions can have a genuinely positive impact on the aged care industry in Australia.”
He adds that recent Government announcements, such as the Royal Commission and the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, will help speed up the increasing and essential need for transparency and transformation the sector.
“However we know consumers will still want information about aged care, and we know they respond best to a combination of both Government and independent solutions,” he says.
“Our solutions are very important as they complement Government initiatives by not only making it easier for everyone to share their own experiences of aged care, in a safe and meaningful way to give everyone a voice when it is needed - good, bad or indifferent, but also to be able to compare their options like they have never been able to do before.”
Minister Wyatt welcomes the partnership and dedication to improving the sector forged by the Affiliate Agreement, on behalf of the Government, noting that “these tools can not only help increase transparency in the sector, which consumers are demanding, but also help providers proactively respond to consumer feedback”.
“DPS Publishing and their Aged Care Guide play a very important role in the aged care information ecosystem in Australia,” Minister Wyatt says.
“It is great to see initiatives like this from the private sector, in particular that DPS has worked collaboratively with the key industry and consumer associations in the aged care sector - a great initiative by them.”
COTA Australia Chief Executive Ian Yates welcomes Aged Care Guide’s solution that he says will deliver increased information on consumer experience of all aged care providers across the country while providing an opportunity for consumers to better understand the cost of each provider.
“The Aged Care Guide tools are the first opportunity for older Australians to both compare provider prices and read reviews from consumers before deciding which provider best suits their needs,” Mr Yates says.
“COTA research shows that reviewing consumer experience of existing users is one of the most sought after pieces of information consumers want to see.
“We’re pleased to endorse the Aged Care Guide solution and thank them for their collaborative approach to the system design.“
ACSA, who represent predominantly not-for-profit aged care providers, say there is an increasing need and demand from consumers for transparency in aged care and providers also want to open up to the community to improve confidence in their services.
“This initiative enables consumers and their families to have a say about experiences of their care and is another important opportunity for providers to have an honest, direct and interactive relationship with them,” ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow says.
“This platform will also support and open up the broader community conversation and understanding about aged care services.”
Fellow aged care peak body Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), who represent not-for-profit, for-profit and Government providers across residential, home care and retirement living, have also endorsed the initiative.
“It’s pleasing to see our Affiliate DPS Publishing leading this initiative,” LASA Chief Executive Officer Sean Rooney said.
“The industry can only benefit from consumer-driven information that will help drive improvements to the quality and diversity of age services across the board.”