Extra home care packages a ‘drop in the ocean’

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More than 6000 new home care packages are to be released to support older Australians stay at home for longer, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck have announced.

They also said that Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety would be extended until 26 February 2021.

The royal commission was to hand down its final report in November but was suspended for three months due to COVID-19. In two interim reports, the commission has been highly critical of the quality of aged care and is urging the government to almost double its financial support of the sector, from $27 billion to $47 billion.

“This [new packages] is about ensuring that Australians, as they age, have greater choices, that families have greater choices,” Mr Morrison said, adding that the 6100 extra packages would be rolled out immediately.

About 50,000 in-home packages have been added since the 2018/19 budget at a cost of $3 billion, but figures released in April revealed that more than 104,000 older Australians were still waiting for packages that had been approved for them.

The new funding will be split between level one, two and three packages.

Opposition aged care spokeswoman Julie Collins said the extra packages were a “drop in the ocean” with no new level four packages for more than 21,000 older Australians desperately waiting for the highest level of support.

“Time and time again, the Morrison government’s miserly announcements of new home care packages have failed to address the true scale of Australia’s aged care crisis,” Ms Collins said.

Council on the Ageing Australia (COTA) said the new packages were welcome, but much more needed to be done.

Chief executive Ian Yates said it was vital to reduce waiting times for packages to a maximum of two months after assessment.

“The 6100 additional home care packages announced today will mean more people than ever will receive home care, but it’s still unacceptable that people can wait for over a year for high care at home after they have been assessed as needing it,” he said.

“We know that older Australians want to live at home as long as they can. The government must support them by fully funding home care so they can avoid moving out of their local community and into residential care before it’s absolutely necessary.”

Even with the new additions, many people would be left waiting for more than 12 months before they receive their care package, Mr Yates said, adding that the royal commission was a once-in-a-generation chance to enact major reform and ensure high quality and appropriate aged care.

“Our aged care system must provide care that is consumer centred and controlled and grounded in the standards of respect and dignity for all consumers tailored to older people’s diverse and individual needs. There can be no one-size-fits-all approach …” he said.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), the leading body for non-profit aged care providers, says the extension to the royal commission is vital.

“There simply hasn’t been the time or capacity to properly investigate the solutions to the reform challenges that aged care faces,” said ACSA chief executive Patricia Sparrow.

“We must properly investigate the reforms needed to ensure aged care is delivering the care and support older Australians need, including how we will pay for this as a community.

“Whatever funding model we end up with, it needs to be based on what older people need. We’ve only just been asked for input on funding models, so the extension is very welcome and a serious conversation is overdue,” Ms Sparrow said.

“But none of this means that urgent action isn’t required. We’re yet to see a full response to the sector’s united call for a COVID-19 response package and the fact that 60 per cent of all residential care facilities are operating at a loss.”

Do you have a home care package? Or are you waiting for a home care package? Do you believe 6100 packages will make a meaningful difference?

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Written by Janelle Ward

10 Comments

Total Comments: 10
  1. 0
    0

    I have been waiting 11 months for my home care — and why the hell can they not give us the money to pay someone we KNOW to come and do the care — as it has come to the point of me not being too darn fond of having strangers be anywhere near me

    • 0
      0

      Hi Plan B,
      I agree with you ,
      My elderly mother has had numerous small precious items go “missing” and so many breakages that it would make you weep.
      As of July 1st the hourly rate that is charged to the clients account is Now $60 ! The carers that come around of course don’t get paid anywhere near that amount
      low to mid $20s , so the care companies are making a killing financially!

    • 0
      0

      I thank you for that information, Ron Raines, it will be very helpful and I am so sorry that your mother had just a dreadful experience — I have also had some friends gave up with the “help” as it was appalling

    • 0
      0

      A really excellent idea PlanB.
      I have used the services of lovely people from a commercial company from time to time when everything gets on top of me. They are all police checked and come with all the products and machinery they need.
      They don’t stop even for an always offered tea or coffee and biscuits, and they do a marvellous job following the list you give them. No nonsense about not cleaning ovens or windows etc.as the company insures them properly.
      Cost is about $37.50 per hour and they do like to come for 2 hours, but you get value and no nonsense about management fees etc.
      I don’t know if they do personal care like helping with showers etc.though.

  2. 0
    0

    Couldn’t agree more. It would be so much simpler and cost efficient if we could get funds to have someone in our community help with housework, gardening, shopping etc. The government would save millions and people would be able to sort out their own needs and be in touch with people close to them. Why are these thiings made so complicated and expensive. Most fees end up being paid to administrators etc.

    • 0
      0

      Yes Priscilla, they sure do — so many time the department is given x amount of money and if it is not spent it is wasted on silly unneeded things —

      I have dear friends that help me when tey can but they have families and work full time as well –and also have their own places to care for — I feel so guilty when they try and help so when they ask me I always say I am ok BUT I AM NOT

  3. 0
    0

    It should be 610,000 places , 6100 won’t even make a dent in the waiting list!

  4. 0
    0

    The 6000 packages trumpeted in the media just prior to the election, won’t even meet the growth in demand in the sector since the last survey. When packages were first introduced, low care were expected to provide 11 hours and high care 17 hours. Despite public service recommendations these hours were not legislated. Now they are about 4 for low care and 8 for high care. Not enough to meet the needs of many. Some providers include travel time in those hours which is a disaster for rural clients. We were fortunate to get a provider, COASIT, who provided 12 hours for my mother in law and included diversional therapy for her. Just 1/10th of the money wasted on missiles that we will never use, could resolve this crisis for those who have given so much for this country. Why does this govt have no heart?

  5. 0
    0

    well sad to say the wife and I were planning to sell up and go into a retirement village but after careful consideration we would prefer to stay in our little home but some things are getting beyond us so the packages offered by our government would do the things outside our ability the charges demanded of package managers is enormous
    is there some thing like CHOICE that investigates these managers and point out the advantages of one over the other
    everyone claims their manager is best but they have very limited exposure to the entire range of managers and we have read many complaints and disappointments with some

    some managers attempt to make transferring to another manager both difficult and expensive

    it seems ridiculous that some managers exploit pensioners of government funds because we believe their advertising – that they are looking after our good

    I have read that managers have insisted that people cannot manage their own package and that all services must be obtained through them

    the matter is most confusing to us and there seems not to be any simple way to select the manager that leave enough funds to secure the services we need to remain in our home


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