The federal government must do more to meet the needs of older Australians with diverse backgrounds and experiences, aged care royal commission lawyers say.
The legal team has suggested the federal health department lacks the will to drive aged care reforms for diverse groups and stop people falling through the gaps.
Senior counsel assisting the commission Peter Gray QC said the current situation is inadequate and must be fixed.
"While some progress is being made, much remains to be done and in various respects no progress has been made at all," he said on Friday.
"The evidence about policy reform on ... diversity suggests that while impressive documentation has been prepared, there's uncertainty about the extent to which providers and government will actually implement what is in the documentation and what is needed."
The current aged care system did not allow access for many special needs groups to be tracked or monitored, Mr Gray said at the end of a week-long hearing focused on diversity.
Mr Gray said the legal team had been struck by the apparent lack of accountability in the system in relation to measures intended to respond to diversity.
"We are left wondering whether practice on the ground matches the rhetoric of the commitments to diversity in the aged care diverse framework and its associated action plans."
He suggested a lack of will or a lack of resources as possible reasons the situation had not been fixed, before noting a senior health department official's evidence that it was not a resourcing issue.
"That leaves us with concerns, in our submission, about the will of the department to drive reform that responds to the needs of people with diverse background and experiences."
Health department officials admitted there was no monitoring of whether providers that were allocated funding on the basis of giving priority to people from special needs groups, actually followed through.
There was also no checking if providers that claim they offer specialised services for older Australians with special needs actually do so, a situation Mr Gray labelled disturbing.
Mr Gray said caring for people with diverse needs must be core business for aged care providers.
"Embracing and respecting diversity must not be an add on or a token gesture."
The special needs groups include people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, LGBTI communities and rural or remote areas, as well as veterans and those who grew up in children's homes.
Questioned by an Aboriginal elder who had shared his story, newly-appointed royal commissioner Tony Pagone QC agreed the inquiry needs to "get something done".
"That's our intention, that something gets done, and that's why we're gathering your stories and the stories of others," Mr Pagone told the member of the Stolen Generations.