'Knowledge is everything?' How well do the general public understand aged care and how does this affect their attitudes towards quality of care and future funding?

Claire Hutchinson, Julie Ratcliffe, Matthew Crocker, Sheela Kumaran, Rachel Milte, Jyoti Khadka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in Australia has documented systemic failures and shocking incidences of abuse and neglect, a not uncommon story internationally. As aged care in many countries is predominantly publicly funded, it is important to understand the general public's attitudes towards aged care quality, what aspects of care quality they think are most important and their willingness to contribute to increased funding to the sector. This paper asks specifically whether self-reported aged care literacy impacts expectations and willingness to pay. More than 10,000 members of the general population were surveyed stratified by age, gender and state. Regardless of the level of aged care literacy, there was consensus about what constitutes quality care, and care priorities for the sector. However, aged care literacy affected willingness to pay to fund a better-quality aged care system. The current crisis facing Australia's aged care system and that of many other countries internationally demonstrates the central importance of general public support to drive quality improvements, recognising that increasing public expenditure on aged care is a necessary part of the solution. This study provides important baseline data from which to commence national and international conversations to consider all options for ensuring the quality, safety and sustainability of aged care now and into the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2095-2117
Number of pages23
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 20 Sept 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • aged care
  • attitudes
  • funding
  • general population perspectives
  • quantitative
  • taxation
  • willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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