The National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the ANAO Audit of the Design and Early Implementation of Aged Care Reforms. The Alliance is the peak body for rural health in Australia.
I would like to take the opportunity to raise a few key points that you might like to consider in your deliberations as part of the audit. The Alliance has produced the following comprehensive fact sheet: Aged Care Access in Rural Australia. This fact sheet provides key facts, figures and commentary on the range of factors impacting rural aged care service provision. In particular, it states the number of residential aged care workers per 100,000 of the population, by occupation and remoteness category.
The availability of aged care services in rural areas is significantly lower than in major cities, with the proportion of older people using aged care services decreasing with remoteness. Older people living in rural Australia often experience delays in accessing, or simply do not receive, the care they need, leading to: increased frailty, functional decline, increased hospitalisation and premature entry into residential aged care or relocation from their communities to receive the care they need, despite an increasing preference for older people to receive care in their home and community.