The notion that ‘the customer is always right’ presumes the customer knows what they want but this is not always the case.
When navigating the aged care system for the first time, most older people and their families have little or no prior knowledge of what is available, how much is it going to cost, the different options for paying, and what ‘quality care’ looks like.
This limited knowledge of the consumer causes further complexity on top of an already stressful and complicated decision. Consumers and their families are not provided with benchmarks or a standard quality rating systems; so how can they know whether or not they are receiving a reasonable ‘quality of care’?
What is acceptable quality of care? and what is not?
What is a reasonable expectation when it comes to a “basic level of care”, and when should should one speak up when they feel they deserve a better standard of care?
Capturing resident opinions is further complicated by the fact that approximately 80% of residents in aged care facilities are living with some form of cognitive impairment.
Many residents are also without family or regular visitors, and for residents with family or visitors, they are afraid to make any comments – fearful of the reprisal on their loved one in care through potentially risking ‘rocking the boat’ regardless of whether that risk is real or simply an unfair perception of the industry.
This is why health professionals, experts and facility staff play a vital role in this ecosystem.
Historically, there has been no efficient way to capture the numerous individual voices, there was no service to share experiences or digital web based engagement platform moderated as an honest broker.
By showcasing the positives and registering the negative experiences as a means to drive improvements in a balanced, neutral and open way, CarePage is helping providers to take the necessary steps to change this.
With advances in technology, and analogue platforms in other marketplaces, the health & aged care sector is able to create its own solution to the traditional limited feedback scenario with the provider-consumer relationship and installing a continuous ‘feedback loop’.
CarePage is the first aged care specific reviews and customer experience software, although there are similar offerings in other industries such as hospitality, travel and retail driven marketplaces where the consumer is not only able to, but expected to assess, share and compare.
The government are performing their role in encouraging transparency by making information available through myagedcare.gov.au and strict policing of its regulation through the Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission to effect change and set an acceptable minimum standard.
The private sector is also contributing through digitisation and customer experience platforms to facilitate the free exchange of experiences to focus on competition and excellence, which will become even more valuable as upcoming changes in the industry will prioritise consumer directed care and shift greater control to the consumer.
Ultimately, age care services are increasingly being expected to de-prioritise the notion of simply meeting the basic standards of accreditation and more and more encouraged to provide greater focus on truly satisfying the consumer’s needs (and wants).
But what we can all agree is that consumer experience has well and truly shifted from once being seen in the eyes of some providers as a “nice to have” to a “must have”.
It is in fact becoming a necessity and will more so as the consumer (residents and families alike), become more informed and aware of their options and of what it means to experience and access excellence in quality of care.