Minister says landmark home-care reforms are on the way

Federal Government hints at overhaul of home-care regulations in coming months.

Landmark home-care reform planned

Details of “landmark reforms” to help elderly people age at home will be announced soon, Minister for the Aged Ken Wyatt has revealed.

“With the vast majority of senior Australians wanting to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, home care remains an absolute priority,” the Minister said after the release of quarterly figures on delivery of the service.

“To that end, I will have more to say about further landmark reforms in coming months.”

Asked by YourLifeChoices to expand on the nature of the overhaul, the Minister’s office said it would not comment at this stage.

Government data shows that despite nearly 3800 Home Care Packages being assigned each week, more than half the people who have registered to receive the services are still not able to access them.

COTA Australia chief executive Ian Yates told YourLifeChoices the Federal Government was still falling short of its obligations to provide the packages in a timely manner.

“Although demand now seems to be stabilising and we have a better understanding of the need, it is still unacceptable that tens of thousands of older Australians who the Government has assessed as in need of high-level home care have to wait months or even a year,” Mr Yates said. 

“We urgently need an injection of at least 20,000 new packages.”

Mr Yates said the cost of the new packages could be met by redirecting funds from residential care to home care.

The Minister has revealed that 50,300 packages had been allocated between October and December and described it as “a record number”.

He said there were 17,500 more packages allocated in the December quarter than in the previous three months.

“The latest figures indicate home care is now on a positive trajectory, with delivery ramping up at a great rate,” Mr Wyatt said.

However, the Minister also revealed that only 46 per cent of people in the queue were accessing interim care.

While those able to access interim care included almost everyone who had been in the queue for a year or more, 54 per cent of those registered for care were still waiting.

“Like many new reforms, things moved a little slowly at first last year, as senior Australians and their families grew accustomed to the changes,” said Mr Wyatt, appearing to shift the blame for new system’s hiccups onto the consumer. Legislation reforming how people access care services was enacted a year ago.

The reforms allow people to choose their care provider and take their Home Care package with them, wherever they live.

There are four levels of care packages, from basic services to high-needs care. The subsidies provided by the Government are up for review in June.

Mr Wyatt said that of the December quarter’s allocation, more than 36,000 packages went to people who were new to Home Care, and almost half of the total went to senior Australians with the highest levels of need.

Have you experienced delays receiving the right level of Home Care? Why do you think the Government has been slow to allocate packages?

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    COMMENTS

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    ValMay
    5th Mar 2018
    10:37am
    The problem with home care packages - if you are assessed for a certain fee, you pay it 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year even though you may only use it one day a week. Why do you have to pay through the nose for help to stay at home. I don't mind paying for what I get, but I draw the line at paying $5000 a year for nothing.
    KSS
    5th Mar 2018
    12:26pm
    $100 a week is not that bad really. Depending on the service you get why don't you see what it would cost you from a private provider, e.g. if its household chores you get help with, then see what it would cost for a housekeeping business to come in and do it for you, or if it is a nurse then call a nursing agency and see what the fees would be for you to get someone directly from them. I would guess that paying the $5000 a year ($100 a week) will be cheaper.
    MICK
    6th Mar 2018
    3:03am
    Personally I think that olders Australians electing to stay in their own homes is logical and wise decision.
    First this bad bad government tells older AUstralians to sell up and spend the money. Now with an election around the corner it is saying they are going to help.
    None of us should be gullible enough to believe this lot given the significant number of intentional lies told since coming to office. Those who think this bunch of rich man's bandits have changed will be in for the next round of surprises if they win. They are bastards with a conscience.
    Jennie
    5th Mar 2018
    10:54am
    It's all very well staying in your own home but where is the care during the night when you are most likely to fall down trying to get to the bathroom. It's cheaper for the government to have the aged staying at home. It's always about money.
    Puglet
    5th Mar 2018
    2:28pm
    I agree with you Jennie. Falls often occur at night. My next door neighbour lived at home until she was 94 and with 1% vision, early dementia and very deaf. She had lots of private help (at least twice a day) from the church, meals on wheels home help etc and so she lived pretty well. She wasn’t scared of death but she was scared of falling and nobody knowing so she wore an alarm. I was 1 on the list of people to call cause I was closest. In 5 years I was called once and that’s cause she had the gastro bug and was in a bit of a mess. Her daughter put her in a nursing home so they could sell her house. 2 weeks later she fell out of bed and broke her hip and died a week later. All she wanted was to die at home. I am still angry!
    Jennie
    5th Mar 2018
    3:20pm
    Yes Puglet. So very sad. My mother fell down at night and although she had the call button service round her neck she didn't use it due to dementia. Fortunately I was on the premises. If I hadn't have been...
    jakirbe
    5th Mar 2018
    10:57am
    I totally agree with ValMay. If I'm using multiple services, fair enough. But when I only want/need half an hour assistance 3 times a week it becomes ludicrous.
    Ted Wards
    5th Mar 2018
    11:06am
    Maybe you should ask them about going back to CHSP and not the packages. Under CHSP you still get 1.5 hrs of help a week but only pay a contribution towards the total cost.
    KSS
    5th Mar 2018
    12:33pm
    Or try sourcing the help privately and compare the costs. Or depending on what the help you actually need is, advertise it on sites like airtasker and see what they ask! There are always options and you may not have to rely on Government assistance at all.
    Sundays
    5th Mar 2018
    1:24pm
    My parents only needed someone to clean, and mow lawns. It was a lot cheaper to buy this privately. A nice young woman came to clean weekly, and a local man did the garden. They also got meals on wheels and became friends with a taxi driver who they could call for transport. If you need nursing or personal care it,may be different
    Rae
    5th Mar 2018
    12:01pm
    Sounds like taxpayer money being flung at providers. There must be private companies offering services on a casual basis. They ma

    5th Mar 2018
    2:09pm
    Is there no end to how much welfare the government provides
    No wonder we are in debt to our eyeballs and the country is full of leaners
    Anonymous
    5th Mar 2018
    2:59pm
    Welfare adds to social cohesion. We are a society, not just an economy. Most of your so-called 'leaners' have worked their backsides off for most of their lives. As for debt, given Australia's resources we should not be in debt. You can blame the bloody Lieberal Party for that: the biggest debt was accumulated under the Rodent, John Howard.
    Anonymous
    5th Mar 2018
    3:34pm
    Get your facts right, debt was all but paid off by Howard and Costello
    They are national treasures
    OnlyDaughter
    5th Mar 2018
    7:18pm
    Knows-a-lot was referring to when Mr Howard was Treasurer (1977-1983) in the Fraser Government and not when he was Prime Minister. He is correct is stating that considerable debt was incurred during the time of Mr Howard's financial management of Australia's economy and it is generally recognised that he was one of Australia's worst Treasurers.
    I was sad at your reference of those needing welfare support as "leaners" because, in my opinion, it was uncharitable and not a comment that a caring person would make. Also, fortunately the Liberal Party has moved on a little from the attitude of Messrs Abbott and Hockey. Difficult though it may be for you to accept, not all people are financial wizards such as yourself, amassing significant funds for their old age so as not to need government support. Also, as Know-a-lot points out, most aged-pensioners have spent a lifetime of working hard and paying their taxes. It is not as aged-pensioners receive a great deal in financial support when compared to the retirement packages of former Members of Parliament and especially former Prime Ministers. Perhaps these should be considered for the "leaner" tag.
    KEVINJ
    5th Mar 2018
    5:23pm
    Now FilthY 'Money Grubbers' in ALL Australian GOV-TS, at ALL Levls R so much on the Nose, All OveR; whc the FOOL, B. JOYCE's, cockEyeD Mouth FAST TRACKED;- b4 TOO long we may have to RE-introduce SOCIALISM ?? to Assist Us to Move THE {"TOO MANY"}- MongreLs 'OUT', & then We dictate, Incomes to "Smart Alec" Types who Still want to be in a Form of Honest Politics, which TYPES, like, LUNATIC, TURNBULL, -"AKA", TURN COAT &, SHORTEN, - can't Control. TURNCOAT was Strongly PROMPTED on SYDN RADIO, Today, To, QUOTE,-"GET OUT, So, He can Count, His MONEY", - UN-QUOTE, - Mon, SYDNEY RADIO, - Feb, 5, 2,018.
    Anonymous
    5th Mar 2018
    6:16pm
    WHatEYeR yoU SAy KEvINj
    KSS
    6th Mar 2018
    6:05am
    ???!!!??