What will the next ACAR look like?

2020 has been undoubtedly one of the toughest years for the aged care industry. A Royal Commission in to Aged Care, financial uncertainty and the real impact of the global pandemic that is COVID-19.

Understandably the Commonwealth has delayed the planned Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) originally scheduled for March 2020. The Federal Budget handed down in October 2020 provided for some additional home care packages however there was little respite for residential aged care. There are however some indications that “significant” industry investment will most likely occur following the recommendations from the Royal Commission.

In the meant time, providers must remain viable and continue to plan for the future. A hard task when industry financial reports demonstrate significant strain, providers exiting and some of the countries largest organisations putting new developments on hold.

What is known is that an ACAR will occur. What is not known is when. And we do know there is an appetite for growth as some astute providers seek to develop new homes, and redevelop older homes, that more accurately reflect consumer preference.

As Australia’s …

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The five stages of occupancy grief

There are many articles, studies and direct conversations regarding the state of the aged care industry today. One of the biggest pain points for providers is financial. Regular surveys such at the StewartBrown Benchmarking Reports highlight the significant fiscal impacts particularly as they relate to the cost of staffing, often to achieve compliance rather than impact direct resident care, and the loss of revenue when occupancy takes a hit.

We regularly work with clients across a range of projects and one such issue that commonly crops up is occupancy. Overall there is a preference to stay at home and in some areas intense competition results in significant oversupply of stock. That said, there is a market for everyone.

Throughout many of our occupancy projects we work with clients going through the well documented stages of grief.

Our take on occupancy stages of grief, with apologies to Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler, are outlined below.


“It’s just been a bad few months.” Yes it has.

“We have had a lot of deaths.” Agreed, but in residential aged care there …

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Home care changes and challenges

This week Ideal has had the pleasure of being part of the ACSA Aged Care Finance Forum to talk about the challenges and changes in Home Care. We are happy to share this summary of the presentation with you and welcome you to contact us with any questions and comments.

Contact us if you would like a PDF version of this article.

Home care is a growing and increasingly competitive area of business for aged care providers. The population demographics, consumer preference to remain at home, increased proportion of aged care services being delivered in non-institutional settings, and the focus of the Aged Care Royal Commission on supporting older people to remain at home all support further growth of home-based services.

Responding to this there is increased interest from the private sector and significant growth in the number of home care Approved providers over the past five years. From 2016 to 2019 the number of Approved Providers of Home Care has doubled and private providers have grown market share by 20%.

Proposed changes to Home Care funding arrangements

In the …

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The Year Ahead

The start of the year always brings a period of contemplation for what the year ahead will look like. For those of us in the aged care and senior living sector 2020 will be a big year. The Aged Care Royal Commission will continue to roll on and highlight the inadequacies of the current system and hopefully identify a way forward when the report is released in November 2020.

The financial viability of a growing number of providers is concerning and the year ahead will see exits and further market consolidation.  The workforce will continue to reshape as older workers retire and a new generation of leaders emerge. Ensuring quality of care and services remains paramount. Technology will be a key enabler. The care and support needs of older Australians will become increasingly complex and require high levels of collaboration between consumers, providers and the broader health sector.

In periods of change and turbulence gathering insight can be very challenging because providers are dealing with more immediate concerns and risks.

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Challenging times in a rapidly changing Home Care market

Growth in package numbers & growth in client complexity

This week brings the release of 10,000 home care packages in response to the Aged Care Royal Commission Interim Report. The packages will be predominately high care; and will tip the proportion of high care packages to over 50%. Skilful business planning is required to ensure a provider is well-positioned to maximise this growth opportunity.

The growth strategy needs to accommodate both an overall growth in service volume and high growth in demand for high care packages. The skill base, knowledge, technology platform, workforce, equipment and governance model need to be revised in transitioning to caring for a higher volume of clients and a higher proportion of frail older people with complex needs.

It is not a case of just doing more; each provider must reshape their care and service model to support and increasingly frail elderly cohort of older Australians who now have the option to remain at home.

An increasingly competitive market place

Since 2016 the number of Approved Providers of Home Care Packages has more than doubled. Private …

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Proactively identifying the risk of non-compliance in aged care services

The Aged Care Royal Commission hearings this week highlighted the importance of leadership understanding and acting on the risk factors that when left unmanaged lead to non-compliance.

The Ideal Consultancy has developed a risk identification tool specifically designed to provide organisational leadership with a clear understanding of the impact of multiple risk factors at a facility level. Over the past ten years the tool has consistently identified the risk of non-compliance giving providers the opportunity to pre-emptively address these risks. It is not the presence of a single risk factor, rather the combination of these that heightens risk. The emergence of some risks may be insidious or overlooked.

Documenting the risk factors in a single tool provides clarity for Board, Executive and Service leadership about the issues that need to be mitigated. Some factors may have been known and some such as building projects are considered favourably. However, all have an impact on the capacity to manage and address governance requirements.

The tool is simple to use. Information is gathered at a facility level and the results provide a clear …

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Occupancy how to

We get many calls from people seeking a “quick fix” or some “training” thinking that the answer lies in a quick sales workshop at the cheapest possible price. Ideal regularly works with #agedcare providers looking to improve their business performance, and we get great results. But there is no quick fix. And every unoccupied bed is costing the business a lot of money.

Would you like to know what works?

While I can genuinely say every client IS different, we do have a structured approach to assisting organisations improve their position.

Step 1 – we critically look at the current situation. This includes an independent review which is essential to removing any internal bias.

The metrics that we measure have been developed over the past ten years and consistently demonstrate the important factors that a provider or new entrant should be looking at. We recommend that you identify the right catchment, review the demographic profile of the catchment, the actual supply and demand rather than government planning ratios, financial metrics, undertake a competitive analysis using a proven assessment methodology, pricing, …

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ACFA 7th annual report

On July 4 the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) released it’s seventh Report on Funding and Financing in the Aged Care Sector[1].

If you don’t have time to read the full report, The Ideal Consultancy provides a snapshot of some of the information within the report. The information presented relates to FY 2017-18 and generally compares with the previous financial year unless otherwise stated.

Residential Aged Care

There were 886 Approved Providers, down from 902 Approved Providers in 2016-17, running 207,142 operational places compared to 200,689 the previous year.

There are 31.603 provisional places yet to be made operational and 7,802 places offline. 1,371 places had been surrendered or lapsed.

Of all places 80% are single rooms with an ensuite, up from 77% in the previous year.


Size of Provider % of Providers % of all PLaces 1 Facility 63% 21% 2-6 Facilities 28% 23% 7-19 Facilities 7% 25% 20+ Facilities 2% 31%


occupancy and Access

Occupancy continues to decline with a national average of 90.3% against 91.8% in 2016-17 and 92.4% in 2015-16.

In relation …

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ACRC – Bringing together ‘ordinary people’

From the desk of Louise Greene.

Last Friday morning I took the opportunity, along with my Ideal Co-Director Fiona Somerville, to attend the Aged Care Royal Commission public session in Maidstone (metropolitan Melbourne). So along with 300 other people I made my way to a reception centre to hear 20 people make public submissions about their experiences of and aspirations for the aged care system. Heart wrenching stuff to listen to service users and family members talk about their experiences – the room was silent.

The need for aged care services can happen to any family at any time – it is a socially equalising experience. I had a similar feeling to when I attended jury duty where ’ordinary people’ are randomly selected from the electoral roll and brought together.

So many of the experiences described reflected my experience of the aged care system over the ten-year period in caring for my mother. The frustration of dealing with the system, constantly changing care staff, fee complexity and inefficiency of the home care package providers. The incredible shortage of staff in …

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Proposed aged care funding model summarised

Report and consultations open

On Friday 15 March the Department of Health released a report on the Resource Utilisation and Classification Study (RUCS) which was undertaken by The Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) at the University of Wollongong in December 2018[1]. The purpose of the study was to determine the characteristics of residents that drive residential care costs, and use this information to inform the government’s consideration of future reform options. It proposes a new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC).

The department is now seeking targeted feedback on proposed residential aged care funding reform options. Consultation on the proposed funding model closes 31 May 2019. To view or download the consultation paper or provide a submission to this go to the department’s consultation hub.

Ideal provides a high level summary of the intentions and recommendations.

In considering the results and recommendations included in “Report Six: AN‐ACC: A national classification and funding model for residential aged care: synthesis and consolidated recommendations”, it is necessary to distinguish between three key ideas:


The cost of care for people …

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