Most older Australians want to age at home, according to YourLifeChoices polls. But the reality is that almost 128,000 Australians who have been approved for in-home aged care are still waiting for the support requested – some for as long as 12 months.
And the number of older people in the queue has also blown out significantly, with 23,000 more people last month than at the same time in 2018.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in his budget delivery last night: “Australians deserve to age with dignity and have earned the right to expect the highest standards of aged care services. In some cases, these services have badly let Australians down.”
The ever-growing demand for in-home and residential care has received some relief from Federal Budget 2019.
The Government announced that it is providing $5.9 billion over two years from 2020-21 to extend the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). The program contributes to essential home support services, such as meals (Meals on Wheels), personal care, nursing, domestic assistance, home maintenance and community transport to assist older people to live independently in their own home.
The Government is providing $282.4 million to support older Australians who wish to stay at home for longer through an additional 10,000 home-care packages. This brings to 40,000 the number of additional home-care packages the Government has delivered since the 2017-18 MYEFO.
As of 30 September 2018, 74 per cent more people had accessed a high-level package than at 30 June 2017, Mr Frydenberg said.
The Government also announced additional support for residential care and is also providing a $320 million general subsidy boost in 2018-19 for residential aged care and 13,500 new residential care places. It will provide $724.8 million over five years from 2018-19 to support older Australians through further improvements to the quality, safety and accessibility of residential and home-care services.
Mr Frydenberg said the Government’s action to improve aged-care quality and safeguards complemented the ongoing work of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which is holding hearings around Australia.
Key elements of the aged-care funding package include:
- $320 million in 2018-19 for a one-off increase to the basic subsidy for residential aged care recipients
- $282.4 million over five years from 2018-19 for the release of an additional 10,000 home-care packages across the four package levels
- $35.7 million over five years from 2018-19 for an increase to the dementia and the veterans’ home-care supplements to support home-care recipients who require additional care to stay in their homes longer
- $38.4 million over five years from 2018-19 to strengthen aged-care regulation through the establishment of a risk-based compliance and information sharing system in the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
- $8.4 million over five years from 2018-19 to introduce mandatory reporting against national residential care quality indicators for pressure sores, use of physical restraint, weight loss, falls and fractures, and medication management
- $7.7 million over two years from 2018-19 to develop an end-to-end compliance framework for the home-care program, including the increased auditing and monitoring of home-care providers
- $5.6 million in 2019-20 for the implementation of an enhanced home-care compliance framework to improve the quality and safety of home-care services and enhance the integrity of the home-care system
- $3.4 million over two years from 2019-20 for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to address the use of chemical restraints and the inappropriate use of antibiotics in residential aged-care facilities.
- an additional $84.3 million over four years to expand support for young carers, under the Integrated Carer Support Service.
Do you think the package has gone far enough to address the demand for at-home aged care?