Gone are the days of passive ageing, today we are seeing very vocal and active older Australians who are demanding more when it comes to care and support services. Now the Government is responding.
In April 2012, the Australian Federal Government released a 10-year reform plan to change the nation’s aged care system in response to a Productivity Commission review. Feros Care’s CEO, Jennene Buckley, explains some of the key changes detailed in the Living Longer, Living Better (LLLB) report.
Community (at home) Care
The Government is increasing community care packages by another 80,000 places over 10 years. All packages offered in the community will be changed from how we currently identify them. A basic service package will be known as the Home Support Program. If someone needs greater care than that, they can progress into one of four levels of packaged care. The range increases from Package A which offers just a few hours a week, through to Package D, which might see up to 14 hours a week of care. Anyone requiring support for dementia will receive extra funding on top of a package.
Importantly, all community care packages will be consumer directed, meaning the recipient has the ultimate say in what they want, when, how and by whom.
Care offered through a residential village is being completely changed and simplified. There will no longer be high care or low care. Instead, a basic residential package will be determined for all recipients across the board, with extra funding for dementia. From the base level, an individual can choose to pay for additional services such as entertainment, beauty or meals, depending on what’s available at the chosen residential site.
Throughout 2012 and 2013 the Government is launching a pilot to determine how the resident can direct their care, similar to the community setting.
The Government is aiming to make fees, on top of the assistance they provide, fairer and more affordable. Community costs will be the same regardless of where you live, while in the residential setting recipients can pay up-front lump sums, periodic payments or a combination of both.
Access and Quality
From 1 July 2013, a Gateway will be operational to assist the general public in accessing appropriate aged care and support. This will be a one-call-to-action service for everyone across the country. Also, a website called My Aged Care will be live in 2013, allowing people to access general information about aged care services and view comparisons and ratings for residential care services (2014) and at home care (2016). Ratings will be determined by a new monitoring and accreditation service called the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.
Anyone needing an aged care service will only need to be assessed once. That information can then be used in relation to any service the individual needs, anywhere in the country.
The Government intends on spending $1.2 billion over four years to enhance the pay and conditions offered to aged care workers, hopefully attracting a greater, skilled workforce.
For further easy-to-understand information about the changes happening in aged care, read the fact sheets provided by the aged care advocacy group, COTA QLD or view the Government’s full reform package.