Yesterday’s report by the Aged Care Commissioner highlights worsening health outcomes for older people, who are facing prolonged and unnecessary hospital stays as they wait for aged residential care beds to become available. The report also notes the increasing shortage of beds in aged residential care, especially at the highest levels of care.

Aged Care Association chair, Simon O’Dowd says, “This report is timely as we await the report on the Te Whatu Ora aged care service and funding review.”

“Despite decades of advocacy for funding that supports the actual costs of providing aged residential care, successive governments have chosen to underfund this vital part of the health sector.”

“We are now in a position where the sector is unable to meet the increasing demand for aged residential care, which effects every other part of the health system.”

“When aged care beds are scarce, healthcare for older New Zealanders is provided by public hospitals at more than three times the cost. We must ensure a steady supply of aged care beds and smooth transitions from hospitals to aged care to reduce the pressure on older New Zealanders and public hospitals,” O Dowd says.

“It is affirming to hear the same messages about aged care coming from all directions. We urge the government to action the Commissioner’s recommendations, so that all older New Zealanders can access aged care when and where they need it.”

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