Successive federal governments have failed to commit to the reforms needed to fix underlying problems with the aged care system despite numerous inquiries, royal commission staff say.
Ahead of Thursday's release of the aged care royal commission's interim report, the inquiry's staff have criticised government responses to 18 previous reviews and inquiries into the system over the past two decades.
"The overarching question that arises is why, after all these reviews, the aged care system still fails to support an appropriate quality life for the most frail and vulnerable members of our community," the Office of the Royal Commission staff concluded.
The commission staff criticised the slow and opaque government responses to previous reviews and inquiries since 1997, when major reforms were introduced to the aged care system.
"Responses often come years after the review and recount what has been done in an almost tangential way to the actual recommendations," they said in a background paper released on Monday.
"Changes committed to are often slow to eventuate or fall away prior to implementation.
"While governments have responded with ad hoc reforms to elements of the system, they have not been able to resolve the underlying problems with a system that has failed to provide the Australian community with the assurance of quality and safety in the aged care that it expects."
The staff said the reviews and inquiries were asked to address similar concerns and made remarkably similar recommendations, with many of the issues highlighted in royal commission hearings and submissions.
The views in the background paper were not necessarily those of the royal commissioners, a disclaimer noted.
The royal commission's interim report will cover the commissioners' overall impressions of the aged care system but is not expected to include recommendations, which will be in their final report in November 2020.
Aged care providers are lobbying for urgent federal government action on problems such as long waiting lists for home care and want an immediate $1.3 billion funding injection for residential care.
"We need urgent action right now to avert the risk of service failures, job losses and missed care, with our total focus on the best outcomes for older Australians," Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said on Monday.
Mr Rooney said nearly 50 per cent of residential aged care operators were operating at a loss, because the subsidies provided by government were not keeping pace with the rising costs of providing high quality care.
Australian Associated Press