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ESSA Statement: Department of Health’s Review of Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) recommendations report

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) was pleased to see recognition and access to Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) services, for people living in residential facilities, has been recognised in the recently released report Review of Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) recommendations report.

Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, said the Review of ACFI would inform the Turnbull Government’s continuing aged care reforms. The Commonwealth currently contributes $18.6 billion per year to aged care, and by 2020-2021, this is expected to reach more than $22 billion.

“This report repeatedly references ESSA and Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs), and is consistent with our advocacy message to include exercise services delivered by AEPs within ACFI,” explains Anita Hobson-Powell, Chief Executive Officer of ESSA.

“Optimally positioning our members in this space will ensure consumers have access to AEP services regardless of their living location and create significant opportunities for a skilled workforce to service the aged care industry.”


A direct quote from the report states:

Currently, Exercise Physiologists are not recognised in the list of Health Professionals in the ACFI User Guide (page 38). However, their practices fit strongly into the planned Therapy Program and their inclusion is recommended in the new R-ACFI Therapy Program model.

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) (2016a) state that:

“Increasing the exercise and physical activity levels of older people can prevent, or aid in the management of, a myriad of chronic health problems. It can also improve and maintain physical function, promote independence, reduce falls, improve quality of life and slow cognitive decline. Many chronic diseases can be prevented or delayed by healthy behaviours and, importantly, by the environments that support them. Health and social systems can work together to strengthen and maintain capacity and even reverse declines. However, this requires a shift in focus from reactive care to preventative measures.” (p. 1).

ESSA (2016b) further assert that:

“There is strong evidence that clinical exercise interventions, as delivered by accredited exercise physiologists, provide a range of physical, mental and psychosocial benefits to older people, independent of age, disability or disease. For example, exercise can improve cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and balance, decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain and, when completed in a group setting, foster social connections and feelings of belonging. Further, exercise is a very accessible intervention that can be undertaken in a range of settings, including residential aged care facilities and is proven to be highly cost effective, when delivered by accredited exercise physiologistsESSA supports the adoption of contemporary policies and funding models within aged care that develop and maintain an individual’s functional abilities…including their ability to engage in evidenced-based physical activity programs.” (p. 1-2).


“ESSA recognises these recommendations will be considered in line with broader ACFI reform, and we hope to see greater access to exercise services as delivered by AEPs,” adds Ms Hobson-Powell.

To access the Department of Health’s Review of Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) recommendations report, please click here.