When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now…
Over and above these concerns is the matter of policy, regulation and service models. At the moment homes in Malaysia are not regulated and there are no guidelines, policy, best practices and enforcement in place. It is a free for all, one that is often open to abuse of all kinds.
If aged clients are not exploited, the industry needs to be reclassified. In short, moving it from a cottage industry, and reclassifying the industry as aged Healthcare.
The Australian Trade Commission workshop clearly demonstrated that Australia has done its research and has looked into every possible scenario. For example, one of the regulations covering the number of bedrooms in aged care facilities stipulates that there must be a one-bedroom unit for every two-bedroom unit. Other regulations cover medical charges, investment, ownership – private or government funded and even if charitable/religious and benevolent organisations can run these homes.
But before Malaysia can embark, there is a need for an Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency to be set-up. In Australia, the agency regulates aged care facilities accreditation which includes 44 standards in four main areas:
- Management systems, staffing and organisational development;
- Health and personal care
- Resident lifestyle; and
- Physical environment and safe systems
Other gatekeeper issues cover Quality of Standards, validation services, complaint mechanisms, who runs and monitors these systems, etc.
The Economic Transformation Programme’s Healthcare NKEA is in the process of setting up their labs. The labs will determine what the regulations, policies, standards, and enforcement should be.
At this time, questions abound. Will it drive the existing players out of business? How long will current providers be given so that they can change their business model and be compliant? Who pays for what? What about subsidies and tax incentives? Many questions need to be asked and we have not even touched the big portion of aged healthcare; staffing (including recruitment), certification, training, up-skilling and retention.
When the stakeholders meet at the Healthcare NKEA lab, this will be plenty of issues up for consideration and demanding clear-cut strategies and initiatives if aged healthcare facilities are to thrive in Malaysia.
The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.
View Part 1 of this series here.
Photo credit: Flickr user Ronn Aldaman.