The aged care sector is one of the biggest service industries in Australia, drawing in $17.8 billion in government funding and seving over one million citizens. There are over 2,000 aged care service providers with more than 350,000 carers. They may offer different types of care such as Home and Community Care, Residential Care, and Home Care.
If you are interested in getting into this sector, you will be wise to first better understand both the regulatory and operational requirements.
My Aged Care is a single source of truth for all things related to aged care where consumers can get matched with qualified providers based on their needs.
First, you must become an approved provider as outlined under the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018. This will allow you to receive subsidies from the Australian Government and provide aged care services to senior citizens in need.
Then, you have to get set up on the My Aged Care portal to offer your services to your customers. This is a great added benefit as it’s a readily available marketing and sales platform you can leverage to manage your business. It even includes a feature to help you accept and manage referrals and maintain client records like a CRM.
Starting in 2020, there is a dedicated, standalone Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner which creates and enforces aged care regulations. All aged care service providers in Australia must pass regular assessments of performance against the Aged Care Quality Standards.
It is also critical that you employ qualified aged care personnel in all relevant functions. Depending on the breadth of services you want to offer, these positions can include aged care worker, residential support worker, and registered nurse.
You first must decide what type of care you want to offer: residential vs. home vs. home and community. This could impact the level of funding and possible grants you may receive.
Based on that decision, you then will be able to pin down the types of facilities, medical equipment, recreational materials, and vehicles you need to manage. Clear operational parameters are key in helping you set up your financial structure based on accurate cost assessment. As your ability to offer differentiated service in aged care depends heavily on the people you employ, you should carefully consider the hiring and training plan for all your personnel.
To minimise risks for your business, it will be wise to ensure you have the right types and extent of insurance coverage as well. Many aged care business owners often consult attorneys to better understand most optimal legal structure and attain professional advice on risk management. You will need to make sure you will be able to effectively monitor any changes in regulations as non-compliance can be fatal to your business’ sustainability.
The Commonwealth has committed to help drive a more consumer-centric aged care system updating their funding process. Thus, now funding is provided to consumers based on their income levels rather than directly deposited into the providers’ accounts. This consumer-driven subsidisation allows more decision power to be shifted towards the consumers, allowing the industry to be a freer market. This encourages a healthy competition amongst the providers, collectively contributing to the continuous improvement in quality available to the vulnerable citizens in need.
This industry, similar to any other industry operating in the modern economy, is also ripe with opportunities to innovate. As the need for real estate infrastructure has been a growth inhibitor in the sector, the industry experts are seeing opportunities for startups to provide a new care model such as mobile offerings. While change would be relatively slow, the industry by no means is an exception to large-scale transformation.