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COVID-19: Nationwide survey reveals Australians have lost trust in aged care

MEDIA RELEASE: 19 August 2020: Fifth Dimension Consulting has conducted a groundbreaking national survey on the level of confidence in Australia’s aged care system and the intentions of people with loved ones currently in care or in need of future care.  The results reveal significant issues for Australia’s aged care sector.

“Aged care in Australia has been a contentious issue since COVID-19 entered the country. Our survey results create a clearer picture for understanding the sentiment of the nation regarding aged care, as heartbreaking mortality numbers continue to sweep the country,” Fifth Dimension founder and managing director, Lyndall Spooner said.

Lyndall Spooner

Lyndall Spooner has over 25 years of experience in consulting and advisory services. Fifth Dimension Consulting is a highly respected and globally focused industry leading strategic research and consulting agency that has amassed a distinguished portfolio of well known clients including: Coles, HCF, Telstra, Foxtel, Colgate and Westpac.  In July 2020, they were named one of the world’s leading strategic research consultancy firms.

“A concerning element of the survey reveals that since the outbreak of COVID-19, 53 percent of the Australian adult population say their level of confidence in aged care has decreased,” Spooner said.

“In addition, more than half of people (54%) who have a friend or relative in aged care are currently considering taking that person out of care.”

According to Spooner, while two in three people say taking their friend or relative out of care would be a temporary move, the remaining one in three are considering making this a permanent change.

The Fifth Dimension survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of Australians aged 18 years plus. Data was weighted by age, gender and state according to ABS statistics, ensuring that the mix of respondents is reflective of the total population. Respondents were sourced from a high-quality research panel. The survey was conducted on a mobile-friendly online platform from Friday 31 July to Monday 3 August 2020.

“The results of our Fifth Dimension survey also revealed that 60 percent of people who were planning to move someone into aged care in the next five years, before COVID-19, will either delay that move or try to avoid aged care all together,” Spooner said.

“Aged care in Australia could look very different five years from now, with 31 percent of the people who were considering moving someone into aged care in the next five years now looking to delay that move.

“A further 14 percent of people say they will no longer move that person into care and will look to source services to keep that person in their own home for as long as possible, and 15 percent saying they will try to care for that person at home.”

According to Spooner, their national aged care confidence survey also exposed what Australian residents deem to be the greatest issue with aged care that puts elderly residents’ health at risk.

“One in three people (36%) say the greatest issue with aged care that puts elderly residents health at risk is the casualisation of the workforce,” Spooner said.

“The casual nature of the industry has forced many aged care workers to work across multiple aged care centres to earn a decent income. Participants of the survey believe this practice is putting elderly residents at greater risk due to the increased opportunity for the virus to be spread amongst several aged care facilities.

“The second biggest issue (25%) identified by the survey that is putting residents health at risk is the low carer to resident ratios.

“On top of this, 49 percent of the Australian adult population do not believe the Government is doing enough to ensure aged care providers are protecting residents from COVID-19.

“Fifth Dimension’s survey results indicate that residents of aged care facilities are suffering with poorer mental health as the devastating numbers coming out of aged care facilities continue.

“One in four people (23%) who have a friend or relative in aged care say that person’s mental health has declined since COVID-19. This number increases to one in three (34%) for people who are in aged care in Victoria.”

Website: Fifth Dimension Consulting

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