The article in today’s Nine/Fairfax paper “Government takes aim at allied health in aged care” highlights the alarming approach the Morrison government is taking to reforming the aged care sector which will ultimately lead to poorer quality of care for our most vulnerable people.
Physiotherapists are highly trained allied health professionals who work with aged care residents to improve mobility, reduce falls, and provide rehabilitation after illness and injury. Lifestyle officers, which may replace many allied health services, are neither qualified nor equipped to provide for the complex needs of elderly Australians.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has worked openly and transparently with the Morrison Government and across the Aged Care sector to ensure that physiotherapy services in aged care are appropriate and optimised to improve quality of life. If Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck has evidence that physiotherapy is ‘over servicing’ then he must produce this.
We want to see improved and equitable access to physiotherapy and other appropriate allied health services to ensure older people in residential aged care receive timely, high-quality and evidence-based care.
The professionalism and excellence of physiotherapists in residential aged care facilities is widely recognised. Physiotherapy is an integral part of the aged care team that ensures quality care and support, and enhances health and wellbeing of older people in residential aged care. Robbing aged care residents of these essential services will have a significant impact on their quality of life.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended that access to allied health in residential aged care be increased. The Federal Government has chosen not to act on all of the recommendations from the Royal Commission. We must have properly funded residential aged care. Cost cutting reduces the level and quality of care for frail, elderly Australians.
The APA wants to work with the Federal Government to ensure older people in residential care have equitable access to timely, high quality and needs-based, including physiotherapy.
Scott Willis is available for further comment.
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