At the Heart of it, Aged Care is People Caring for People

Andrew Kinkade, Managing Director, Bupa Villages & Aged Care provides simple tips to start making a difference in the challenges the aged care sector is currently facing. 

“I come from a healthcare family, and that certainly ignited my passion… I’ve worked in a number of sectors and have always been inspired by the values and dedication of our aged care workforce – it takes someone special.”

While Andrew sees the challenges that the aged care sector face as deep and severe, such as the impacts of not investing in workforce, job pathways and career progression, leadership and the next generation, he also thinks there are some simple tips which could be used to make a big difference.

“As we look ahead to the next wave of reform, [we need to] find ways to keep it simple. At times, there is a tendency to make things more complex than they need to be. At the heart of it, aged care is people caring for people, improving life through care."

“With an almost constant flow of new requirements and reporting, the intent of the Standards can get lost. It’s very important that governance is not focused on the process but on the outcome – ultimately, the resident’s experience."

As reform draws nearer, Andrew stresses the need for governing board members and executives to get on the front foot of reform by investing in building capability, particularly when it comes to the use of data and digitisation. 

“It’s important in any organisation to learn and build capabilities for the future… The capabilities required to operate in the sector have changed markedly, and this will continue. As a sector, the use of data and digitisation are two areas where we have a long way to go.”

For Andrew, another simple measure is encouraging all approved governing body members and executives to undertake the Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission’s Governing for Reform in Aged Care Program. The Program looks to upskill by triggering collective action and connecting the aged care sector.  

“I want to see the community excited about the future of aged care – seeing aged care as our ‘social infrastructure’. Yes, there are challenges, but with the right leadership and commitment these can be easily overcome."

“If I could wave a magic wand, it would be to have the broader community see this and change perceptions of the sector…Australians need and should expect a vibrant, safe and high-quality aged care sector – and how we care for our elderly and most vulnerable is a reflection of us as a community. This means our community has a critical role to play in the future of the sector."

The Governing for Reform Program is designed to support governing body members and executives across four key capability areas, including keeping older Australians at the centre of care, leadership and culture, obligations and accountabilities, and skills and experience.

The program is free for all eligible participants.