The geographical distribution of aged care system delivery in Australia has already become a focus of several academic researchers, given the high rates of aging of Australian population. The majority of them indicates that aged care system in Australia is characterized by serious disparities in the availability and quality of services. More specifically, Jackson, Teale, Bye, McCallum and Stein (1999) found that older Aboriginal people is the social group in Australia that is most likely to suffer from the ineffective aged care system delivery, as well as to be deprived of health care facility. Given that Aboriginal Australians usually reside in rural and remote regions of Australia, aged care system fails to provide appropriate service to older Aboriginal people (Jackson, Teale, Bye, McCallum & Stein, 1999). Apart from this, the study found that Aboriginal Australians are often the victims of stereotyping and prejudice in medical environment, which also contributes to the creation of a barrier to appropriate aged care service delivery.
The ineffectiveness of aged health care service in terms of meeting the needs of rural population in Australia was also illustrated by the study conducted by Neumayer, Chapman and Whiteford (2003). They argued that ‘overall, the distribution of services available to older persons is uneven across Australia’ and rural areas have the poorest provision of health care services (Neumayer, Chapman & Whiteford, 2003, p. 287). In the meantime, it is important to mention that the statistical data indicates that ‘approximately 11,3% Australians aged 70 and over live in outer regional, remote and very remote areas’, thus the provision of this regions with appropriate services is needed (ACSA, 2013, p. 1). This statement is also supported by other studies from this research area. Namely, the research conducted by Muir-Cochrane, O’Kane, Barkway, Oster and Fuller (2014) revealed that the distribution of services aimed to meet mental health care needs of older people in Australia is especially uneven.
However, some scholars argue that aged care system in Australia had overcome major transformation that seriously affected its quality and its availability. As a result, aged care services experienced a rapid enhancement in terms of satisfying the needs of rural population in Australia, where aging is advancing at a very high rate (Miyake, Rock, Tajika, Hozu, Kanda, Ueda, Nishiyama, 2010, p. 168). More specifically, AIHW (2013) notes that in 2011-2012 ‘places in aged care programs were allocated across Australia with the objective of equitable distribution across 73 Aged Care Planning Regions’. This intervention is likely to contribute to the elimination of inequality in aged care services availability. Situation in Japan regarding the aging of population, as shown in the study, is similar to the one in Australia. It is important to note, however, that Japanese health care system demonstrates less progress in establishing equal access of older people to health care services (Miyake, Rock, Tajika, Hozu, Kanda, Ueda, Nishiyama, 2010).
In conclusion, existing evidence illustrates that health care system in Austria has show some recent improvement in terms of providing equal access to aged care services. Namely, certain interventions have been made in order to guarantee equal distribution of hospitals and other health care organizations across the country. Regardless of this, academic studies also indicate that the geography of aged care services delivery remains highly uneven. Health care system in Australia fails to adequately meet the needs of rural population, as well as the segment of population living in remote areas, where the number of older people is significantly higher. In addition to this, studies reveal that of a special concern is the situation regarding aged care provision to Aboriginal Australians. There is some evidence that the health care system fails to adequately satisfy the needs of this group due to certain stereotypes linked to it.
- ACSA 2013, ‘Issues Facing Aged Care Services in Rural and Remote Australia’, viewed August 31 2015, http://www.agedcare.org.au/publications/issues-facing-aged-care-in-rural-and-remote-australia.
- AIHW 2013 ‘Aged Care in Australia’ Australian Government, viewed 31 August 2015, http://www.aihw.gov.au/aged-care/residential-and-community-2011-12/aged-care-in-australia/
- Jackson, D, Teale, G, Bye, R, McCallum, J, & Stein, I 1999, ‘Postacute Care For Older Aboriginal People: An Exploratory–Descriptive Study’, Australian Journal Of Rural Health, 7, 1, pp. 53-59.
- Miyake, M, Rock, A, Tajika, A, Hozu, S, Kanda, S, Ueda, T, & Nishiyama, T 2010, ‘Comparative research between Australia and Japan: A comparison of the quality of health care in nursing facilities using actigraphy’, Geriatrics & Gerontology International, 10, 2, pp. 167-176.
- Muir-Cochrane, E, O’Kane, D, Barkway, P, Oster, C, & Fuller, J 2014, ‘Service provision for older people with mental health problems in a rural area of Australia’, Aging & Mental Health, 18, 6, pp. 759-766.
- Neumayer, B, Chapman, J, & Whiteford, G 2003, ‘Role of Multi-Purpose Service Programs Providing Residental Aaged Care in Rural Australia: A Discussion Paper’, Australian Journal Of Rural Health, 11, pp. 287-291.