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You are required to investigate an industry segment of the Australian healthcare sector and examine and evaluate its model of operations and growth over the last 10 years.

Recommended industry segments include:

General public or private hospitals

General practices

Specialist medical services

Pathology or diagnostic imaging services

Dentistry or other related services

Allied healthcare services

Pharmaceutical industry

Aged care

Aged care industry and its primary activities

The process of industrial analysis works as a tool for organizations and companies which provides similar services or products in the market to understand their standing within the competition (Dean 2012). It also helps them to strategize a competitive and effective planning so that they can establish their services better within the existing competition (Hamm and Hamm 2012). Aged care services in Australia provides the elderly population with their unique needs regarding of their health and the growth of this industry has reached its highest point where it has become a $20 billion+ industry in recent Australia, under which, 224,000 people are employed in more than 1800 organizations that serves up to 300,000 people around the country (Myagedcare.gov.au 2018). As the number of baby boomer generation is increasing, the scope of such residential aged care homes are increasing extensively and covering interior as well as exterior regions of the Australian territory (Baldwin, Chenoweth and dela Rama, 2015).

In this aged care industrial analysis related report, a detailed description of the aged care sector and its primary activities within the helathcare sector of Australia will be discussed and then the overview of the competitive landscape, identification and description of the organizations within this segment will be discussed as per their business model. Further, the industrial trends and its operating conditions and the factors includes will be discussed. Finally, the ethical concerns faced while conducting such services within the industry will be discussed

As per the Health and Standardization regulations of Australian healthcare system, aged care is a service with a special purpose through which all the elderly population requiring healthcare needs as well as accommodation, assistance for their activities of daily life so that they can live their life independently (Myagedcare.gov.au 2018). Due to this helathcare needs and intensive care requirements, aged care has become one of the most important helathcare needs for growing older population of Australia and such service has become of the most important service in helathcare sector from where investors can generate maximum revenues. There are three sections of the aged care facility in Australia, HACC (home and community care), home care and residential care (Aged Care Financing Authority 2018). The primary activities of this service is associated with providing care and assistance to the older patients within their care facility with their activities of daily life, movement, sanitization, as well as mental care such as providing counselling and other communication therapies so that physically and mentally they could become independent and live their life without and concern (Baldwin, Chenoweth and dela Rama, 2015).

Potential competitors of aged care industry

 As the aged care sector is a human service, many economists does not support the fact that this sector could also face such competition like other services face while competing in a closed market segment (Kim and Mauborgne 2014). However this service could be named as the “Experienced Good” or the kind of service in which competition does not exist till the users use one service and then provides feedback of that specific organization. Hence, the competition will exist from the point where the consumer and the service providers are part of the market closely (Kaine and Ravenswood 2013). As only after using the service, one patient can feel that the service was helpful or not helpful, majority of the aged care service are equipped with equal patients within their care facility (Yeandle, Kröger and Cass 2012). The three sections of aged care such as HACC, home care and residential care and share of non-profit and private as well as government sector within the facility has been mentioned below using graphs.

[Distribution within HACC, created by the author with data from (Aged Care Financing Authority 2018)]

[Distribution within Home care, created by the author with data from (Aged Care Financing Authority 2018)]

[Distribution within residential care, created by the author with data from (Aged Care Financing Authority 2018)]

As per the latest report of the market based report of 2017, the majority of the aged care providers belong to non-profitable organizations provide services within a specific geographical boundary (Yeandle, Kröger and Cass 2012). However, as the consensus of Australian population indicated to an increase of aged population up to 5.7 million by 2031, the authority has forecasted that to increase the competitive landscape all the aged care service centers should increase their strength, by primarily acquisition or merging with healthcare facilities so that patients requiring aged care facility should be provided with immediate care and help while providing required care and intervention as per the helathcare facility (Kaine and Ravenswood 2013).

Therefore, there are organizations, which are working for changing the market competition landscape in the aged care sector (Han et al. 2017). Further, due to the presence of non-profit organizations in the market, private organizations are suffering from loss of patients and are unable to generate required revenue so that they can successfully continue to serve the elderly population with their quality care service (Brandt et al. 2012). Further, the aged care facilities in the country are also diversifying their facilities within the aged care facilities and including culturally competitive care, food choices, providing mobility aids and others so that all the patients living or want to take service within the care facility can use the expanded care facility as per their need (Yeandle, Kröger and Cass 2012).

Aged care industry trends

The rising population of the Australia’s aged population will lead to a significant rise in the aged care services. It is important to highlight that there are two different aspects of demographic trend. The first trend is that the structure of the Australia’s population is changing while the second aspect is that the longevity of the Australia’s elderly population has elevated. Within the Australia’s population there is an increase in the number of the generation of the baby boomer and it consists of significant portion of the Australia’s elderly population. The population of Australia has moved to an age group of 65 years and more (figure 1) (Abs.gov.au 2018). Over the last 10 years the percentage of the population that belonged to the 65 years of age is 3 percent. This trend has significantly increased in comparison to the younger population. The aged population is not only getting older but also the aged people are living longer due to the advancement in the technology and medicine. The international report has suggested that the by the year 2055, the Australian’s that are aged between 60 to 70 years are expected to live for four to five years. Combining the two demographic trends of life expectancy between the men and women, it can be said that there will be increased amount of demand on the aged care services (Baldwin, Chenoweth and dela Rama 2015) (Table 1).

Table 1: life expectancy from 2015 to 2055 (treasury.gov.au 2018)

2015

2025

2035

2045

2055

Life expectancy at the age of 60

Men

26

28

30

31

32

Women

29

30

31

32

33

Life expectancy at the age of 70

Men

17

18

19

20

21

Women

19

20

21

22

23

Figure 1: Australian population by the age group from the 2004 to 2014 [source: Abs.gov.au 2018]

Funding of the aged care- the funding of the aged care is considered to be complex because the services are provided by both the private and the public sources. The service car delivery greatly varies with the residential services, home care, Home and community care (HACC). The funding the of the aged care is presently moving towards a more market based system and consumer driven system with majority of the financial reforms are occurring in the residential aged care system (Australian Institute of Health 2012).

Changing preferences of consumers- The current trends show that the government is slowly moving towards a consumer oriented and market based aged care facility and it is increasingly becoming important for the type of aged care services provided. The preferences of the consumers have significantly impacted by the three different trends. The trends are that the aged population are increasingly preferring to age at home, the aged people that are moving into the aged care services are increasingly moving towards the personalised services, and the baby boomers that are entering the aged care generally demand a high level of the complex care. The older population is increasingly becoming diverse and this has resulted into a culturally relevant care (figure 2). There are major issues like the disabilities and the chronic diseases are highly prevalent among the Australian aged population and especially with two or more chronic health issues (Agedcare.health.gov.au 2018).

Ethical concerns in aged care industry

Figure 2: incidence of chronic disease by age [source: Australian Institute of Health 2012]

Aged care workforce and technological change- There is a wrong perception that technological development can affect the workforce, however it can be seen that the technological advancement leads to the creation of the new opportunities for job. Presently a total of 350,000 people are working in the aged care services and imbalances are created with the automation in the manufacturing sector of aged care (Agedcare.health.gov.au 2018).

The ethical challenges has been present in the industry of the health care for a long time now. Studies have shown that in the last twenty years there has been an increase in the older population to about 81%. By the end of 203, the number of aged people in Australia will be as high as 5.4 million (Brownie and Nancarro 2013).  With the increase in the number of the older adult patients, there is an occurrence of ethical dilemma regarding the choices which are conflicting in nature in terms of the process of dealing with something where there is a lack of any positive outcome. Studies that have conducted in this regards have shown that the physicians often find themselves in difficult situations where it is seen that they have doubts as to which action to take which might be best for the given situation. Often there are incidences where the nurses feel that they are unable to fulfil their ideals of professionalism especially in the situations that are presented with ethically difficult situations (King, Wei & Howe 2013).  In such times these professionals are often threatened about their self-image thus causing a mental distress. The ethical and the medical issues therefore can be deduced from an action as well as the perspective of relational ethics. The perspective of action ethics is responsible for questioning the concerns related to what a person should do in a situation that is ethically difficult. According to this given perspective it is perceived that, these ethics are based on the reflection of the challenges that are presented or encountered in the relationship of the person which impacts the making of the decision. On the other hand the perspective of relational ethics is encountered while the person wants to fulfil the social roles along with the obligations in a way which presents oneself as a human being or a colleague or a high level decision maker (HDM) (Mahieu, Anckaert and Gastmans 2017). The ethical focus of an individual masks the reality of the fact that the aged care includes a wider frame of reference than health care. The ethical decisions taken in terms of aged care, not only involve the aspect of medicinal care but also the arrangements of living, family or the business affairs along with the estate and financial planning. All of these involves the partners and the family members in an intimate manner.

Advocacy is an important part of the ethics in the industry of aged care. As a result of which, there needs to be an autonomy which needs to recognise the capacity of an older person in order to reach to the decisions which is often enhanced by the circumstances of the family. In aged care the role of an advocate is similarly available to the nurses as well as the other health care professionals, however the audience of the advocacy are disparate in several ways which often responsible for making the expressions of advocacy complicated (Bauer et al. 2013).

Most of the ethical issues that is experiences in the aged care industry partakes to the presence of the cultural barriers, the education, end-of-life wishes of the older patients, the life cycle choices and the responsibilities. As nurses ne should be able to show value to an individual or value their wishes however this is often difficult for frail older persons. Certain services needs to be provided to the older patients like formal education, or demonstration of competence along with inculcating personal growth (Tarzia et al. 2013). An ethical dilemma rises in situations of end-of-life wishes of the patients. The nurse is primarily committed to the patient which can often lead to rise of conflicting statements.  Lastly in terms of lifestyle choices and the responsibilities, it is required to address the behavioural elements of successful aging, which helps to ensure a start to the process of healthy ageing.

Conclusion

In order to conclude it can be stated that Australia will be experiencing at least a doubling in the population of the older adults who will be in need of care. Although the government has taken steps to encourage the support that is provided to the older people of the Australian population so that are able to remain in living situations that are independent. However steps will also be taken to move these people to the aged care accommodation in case such situations arises. In spite of this, with the increase in the number of the older patients it is more difficult for the professionals to provide suitable and quality acre to these people. This situation calls for the rise in ethical dilemmas in respect to quality care, making correct medical decisions, or valuing the patients as individuals.

References

Abs.gov.au, 2018. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Government. [online] Abs.gov.au. Available at: https://abs.gov.au/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].

Aged Care Financing Authority 2018. Aged Care Financing Authority | Ageing and Aged Care. [online] Agedcare.health.gov.au. Available at: https://agedcare.health.gov.au/aged-care-reform/aged-care-financing-authority [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].

Agedcare.health.gov.au, 2018. Australia’s aged care sector: economic contribution and future directions Aged Care Guild June 2016. [online] Agedcare.health.gov.au. Available at: https://agedcare.health.gov.au/sites/g/files/net1426/f/documents/12_2016/aged_care_guild_-_enclosure_1_-_deloitte_access_economics_-_australia_s_.pdf [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].

Australian Institute of Health, 2012. Residential Aged Care in Australia 2010-11: A Statistical Overview (No. 36). AIHW.

Baldwin, R., Chenoweth, L. and dela Rama, M., 2015. Residential aged care policy in Australia–are we learning from evidence?. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 74(2), pp.128-141.

Baldwin, R., Chenoweth, L. and dela Rama, M., 2015. Residential aged care policy in Australia–are we learning from evidence?. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 74(2), pp.128-141.

Bauer, M., Fetherstonhaugh, D., Tarzia, L., Nay, R., Wellman, D., & Beattie, E. (2013). ‘I always look under the bed for a man’. Needs and barriers to the expression of sexuality in residential aged care: the views of residents with and without dementia. Psychology & Sexuality, 4(3), 296-309.

Brandt, D.D., Hall, K., Anderson, M.B., Anderson, C.D. and Collins, G.B., Rockwell Automation Technologies Inc, 2014. System and methodology providing automation security analysis, validation, and learning in an industrial controller environment. U.S. Patent 8,909,926.

Brownie, S. and Nancarrow, S., 2013. Effects of person-centered care on residents and staff in aged-care facilities: a systematic review. Clinical interventions in Aging, 8, p.1.

Dean, J.R., 2012. Applications of supercritical fluids in industrial analysis. Springer Science & Business Media.

Hamm, R.W. and Hamm, M.E. eds., 2012. Industrial accelerators and their applications. World Scientific.

Han, G., Liu, L., Jiang, J., Shu, L. and Hancke, G., 2017. Analysis of energy-efficient connected target coverage algorithms for industrial wireless sensor networks. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, 13(1), pp.135-143.

Kaine, S.J. and Ravenswood, K., 2013. Working in residential aged care: A trans-Tasman comparison. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations.

Kim, W.C. and Mauborgne, R.A., 2014. Blue ocean strategy, expanded edition: How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant. Harvard business review Press.

King, D., Wei, Z., & Howe, A. (2013). Work satisfaction and intention to leave among direct care workers in community and residential aged care in Australia. Journal of aging & social policy, 25(4), 301-319.

Mahieu, L., Anckaert, L. and Gastmans, C., 2017. Intimacy and sexuality in institutionalized dementia care: clinical-ethical considerations. Health Care Analysis, 25(1), pp.52-71.

Myagedcare.gov.au 2018. Access aged care information and services | My Aged Care. [online] Myagedcare.gov.au. Available at: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/help-home/social-support-and-activities [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].

Tarzia, L., Bauer, M., Fetherstonhaugh, D. and Nay, R., 2013. Interviewing older people in residential aged care about sexuality: Difficulties and challenges. Sexuality and Disability, 31(4), pp.361-371.

treasury.gov.au, 2018. Life expectancy. [online] treasury.gov.au. Available at: https://www.treasury.gov.au/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].

Yeandle, S., Kröger, T. and Cass, B., 2012. Voice and choice for users and carers? Developments in patterns of care for older people in Australia, England and Finland. Journal of European Social Policy, 22(4), pp.432-445.

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