Aged Care

7 Strategic Challenges for Aged Care

Aged care organisations and the industry sector in which they operate have been subjected to a seismic movement that has put more emphasis on delivering services within more stringent safety tolerances at increased levels of quality. Aged care organisations are being issued a mandate to improve and report on their performance as well as establishing and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement of resident centred care. Combined with increasing customer demands and a more competitive landscape, aged care organisations are adopting more strategic approaches to how they plan, operate, and track their performance. Below are some of the key challenges experienced by the sector and how strategic planning software provides a solution.


1. Directors & Boards

Boards of aged care organisations are continuously confronted with the challenge of gaining meaningful insights that highlight organisational performance against their expected outcomes.
These insights are paramount towards providing robust governance, enabling competitive advantage, and organisational growth through data driven decision making. Importantly, in addition, these insights ensure the organisation’s activities align with its strategy.

skefto strategic planning software provides real time insights to Directors and the Board and facilitates a dynamic and proactive approach to strategy execution whilst maintaining good governance practices.


2. Strategic Agility

As the regulatory controls tighten in the aged care sector it is paramount that directors, executive officers, and senior managers are equipped with the tools available to adopt a more rigorous and focused approach to organisational performance management.

skefto facilitates periodic plan reviews, providing access to all pertinent information required to report on performance and adjust the current strategy. Should it be required, skefto informs the need for a major strategic pivot. With skefto those guiding the strategy of an aged care organisation are no longer just looking for voluminous reports that at best usually only provide lag indicators. Instead skefto users have access to sharper and more concise information that allow strategists to gain a rapid understanding on threats, opportunities and the trajectory of organisational performance.


3. The 3 Cs – Choice, Control and Competition

Customer choice, control of one’s own retirement plans, as well as the emergence of an increasingly competitive landscape, is forcing boards and senior executives in the aged care sector to think more proactively and adopt a strategic approach to service delivery. Utilisation of strategic planning software such as skefto allows a competitive advantage to be established through clear design and execution of strategy, through to tracking performance against internal criteria, sector benchmarks and customer expectations.


4. The Aged Care Workforce Strategy

September 2018 was a significant time in Australia’s aged care sector. Not only was the Royal Commission into Aged Care quality and Safety announced, but the Australian Department of Health also published the Aged Care Workforce Strategy. That strategy sets out 14 strategic actions that aim to change attitudes to caring, attraction and retention of a skilled aged care workforce, and ensure the workforce can meet aged care needs.

skefto strategic planning software allows aged care organisations to incorporate these strategic actions into their own strategy and align organisational performance with staff performance. This is achieved by supporting the development of broad organisational strategies (for example, strategic action 6, establishing a new industry approach to workforce planning, including skills mix modelling) through to the development of personal performance plans (for example, delivery of training, participation in courses etc) that contribute towards their achievement of strategic actions.


5. Continuous Improvement

“Under section 62 of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Rules 2018 (Rules), providers must have a written Plan for Continuous Improvement (PCI). The PCI must explain how they will assess, monitor and improve their quality of care and services, measured against the Quality Standards, from 1 July 2019. If the Commission requests a PCI, the provider must comply with the request. To be effective, continuous improvement must be a provider’s central focus, be understood at all levels and accepted by all management and staff.” Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission December 2019

skefto strategic planning software supports a ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act’ cycle for implementation PCIs as well as linking a PCI with the Aged Care Quality Standards and the organisations strategic plan:

  • Plan – analyse issues, feedback and other input to establish continuous improvement objectives and planned actions. Determine resources required to deliver positive outcomes
  • Do – assign responsibility and dates for the implementation of continuous improvement actions. skefto supports a system of collaboration enabling a team-based approach for the delivery of a PCI. System event triggers and automations ensure individuals and teams are instantly notified of their responsibilities at the right time
  • Check – a review processes allows periodic checkpoints to be established for evaluating that a PCI is delivering expected positive outcomes whilst key performance indicators can provide a more quantitative measure of performance against a PCI
  • Act – if a PCI has delivered the expected outcomes further actions to embed new processes, deliver education and training, and communicate the PCI, are able to be recorded and delivered. However, should the PCI not be delivering the expected outcomes changes may need to be made and the ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act’ cycle run again.

6. National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes

A 2017 an independent review of aged care processes highlighted and made various
recommendations for increased quality and performance which includes:

  • A requirement for residential aged care services to take part in the National Aged Care Quality Indicators Program (implemented from the first quarter of 2019-2020)
  • Introduction of performance ratings against the new quality standards
  • Implementation of a star-rated system for public reporting of provider performance.

skefto strategic planning software allows for performance reporting and benchmarking to occur in relation to key quality indicators, and with reference to the new quality standards, by defining a set of key performance indicators that are able to be periodically updated, reviewed and communicated with relevant parties.


7. Increasing ageing population

In accordance with population projections, the number of older Australians will more than double over the next 40 years. To cope with growing demand there is a requirement of capital development and commissioning of an increasing number of residential aged care facilities. This rate of growth combined with more stringent compliance and governance regulatory requirements, along with a national staff and skills shortage, presents a significant challenge to the future of the aged care sector.

Use of skefto strategic planning software could unlock the solution to this challenge by fast tracking the delivery of strategy through more efficient practices that reduce operational waste and cut the red tape surrounding board and executive decision making. Solving this future challenge benefits our nation nationally by reducing the impact on the health system and individual aged care organisations, to achieve their growth targets. In so doing they will meet the individual needs of the elderly who will be given greater choice of facility and the opportunity to stay close to their friends and families.