In May 2013, Thinc organised a European study tour for eight aged care/seniors living industry leaders. The trip took in three countries and the group visited eleven facilities across the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
The purpose of the tour was to seek out best practice and bring it back to Australia to advance the sector. It also provided a great opportunity to benchmark the state of the Australian industry against European countries, typically perceived as having leading aged care facilities.
The group visited a wide range of old and new facilities in both inner-city and suburban settings. The sites catered for all levels of care and operated under varying funding models. The locations were deliberately chosen to offer the group as wide a perspective as possible, within the limited timeframe available.
Our report considers the key findings from the study tour and the major opportunity areas for aged care/seniors living organisations to learn from each country. The results are compiled from a series of questionnaires completed throughout the trip.
Ultimately we hope the findings will lead to both better organisational outcomes for Australian providers and better design, care and community outcomes for seniors across the country.
All participants agreed that the Australian industry is on par with the European countries visited, with similar sector skills and expertise. However, all respondents also recognised that there were still significant opportunities to learn from the European facilities/systems visited.
The top three areas of opportunity for Australian providers to learn across all the countries visited were considered to be:
- The innovative use of design to encourage integration with local communities
- Social/cultural opportunities to ensure facilities are not only vibrant for residents, but also welcoming for the wider public
- New developments to improve quality of care
It was also recognised that European providers face similar issues to Australian aged care organisations, particularly around funding, operating in fragile economic environments and providing effective models of care.
To find out more about the tour or the sites visited, please get in contact.