Deloitte and iCareHealth recently held their third annual aged care round table, with aged care executives coming together in Melbourne to discuss the key drivers of capital optimisation. Here we share some of the central themes from the day to help providers gain an understanding of the roles management, ACFI and IT play in promoting sustainable practices.
Management investment essential
Obtaining the right mix of residents was found to be a key priority for providers in order to maintain financial sustainability. Without a proactive strategy for attracting and accepting residents that fit a provider’s profile, there is a risk that a facility will have an unbalanced mix of care and funding requirements. As a result, attendees stated that education is needed for all management teams – from head office down to facility managers and admissions staff – on how to select the right residents for their organisation.
Executives at the round table emphasised that accepting the wrong mix of residents can have a significant impact on an organisation. Residential providers must ensure staff responsible for intake understand whether they have the right staffing mix to cater to the care needs of each resident before they are admitted. Hiring the right facility managers and admissions staff – or upskilling existing employees with education programs – were therefore found to be key in optimising provider capital.
Evidence based and consistent ACFI claims
As a result of the recent nationwide growth in ACFI expenditure, the Department of Health and Ageing is looking to make criteria for claiming at higher levels ‘more stringent’. This change is estimated to save the government $475 million over four years, but has been a cause of concern for residential aged care providers.
Attendees at the round table prioritised ACFI as one of the essential capital levers for their organisation. As a result, maximising funding through ACFI claiming must be done in a way that is evidence based and consistent – particularly when claiming at the higher levels.
Capturing evidence was found to be an integral part of successful ACFI claiming for many providers. It was therefore emphasised that management need to instil the importance of this task to staff on the floor. Once collected, ACFI management staff will have the supporting evidence they need to provide essential confirmation of a provider’s reasoning behind each claim. Attendees stated that having electronic tools to help manage this process helped to create efficiencies and maximise funding claims.
IT plays vital role
Prior to attending the aged care round table, attendees completed a survey indicating where they felt the role of IT could be most beneficial in assisting providers. Labour force and ACFI management were found to be the largest priority areas, with an emphasis on utilising systems that support staff by creating efficiencies.
Executives at the round table highlighted that while software can help providers analyse ACFI and clinical data to plan for the future health needs of residents, ICT can help to support labour force management. Managing the home and residential aged care workforce was highlighted as one of the group’s largest logistical challenges. Having electronic systems in place to organise these resources was therefore found to be essential in saving management valuable time and reducing administration costs.
Residential aged care providers at the lunch also highlighted the growing importance of data for the analysis of trends and processes. Having access to data from across an organisation provides insight into the management of residents and their care needs. By capturing data electronically, providers stated that they were able to access reports, such as medication incidents, analyse the location of falls throughout a facility, and look at potential gaps in ACFI funding. Attendees of the round table agreed that investing in IT will be vital for the sustainability of the aged care sector.
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