Federal Budget 2019: More funds aimed to make a dent in at-home aged-care wait lists

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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?

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Written by Janelle Ward


Total Comments: 5
  1. 0

    Not sure how any older person can die with dignity anymore when the government has made sure they lose any savings when entering an aged care facility. Paying a fee of over $500.000 is disgusting, and even paying interest on the difference is you can’t afford that amount. We older people paid taxes and the government hasn’t bothered to look after our interests at all.

  2. 0

    A Pox on the ScoMo go slow for aged people! What a disgrace. No other words can describe it. Waiting two years to get a home care package is absolutely ridiculous. People have the impression the government will fund carers to come and look after the aged person and the home for free. That’s what I thought when my wife applied years ago and the home care package was eventually approved. Boy, was I wrong!

    I called for a nurse to attend to administer medication and to help my wife exercise and to provide massage relief for her pain, as she could not walk more than a meter and then fall down with disastrous consequences. After an hour, the Nurse said she will leave soon and the excess on the bill was $30. She gave me a list of other helpers like cleaners, grass mowers, and other general health duties, all with these sorts of excess payments I would have to find out of our savings. After a month of trying to cope, the only answer was an aged care permanent residence. We found one available in Vermont South. Three weeks later, my wife couldn’t hack it there, the service was abysmal, the staff to resident ratio was about 1:30, the food was average, and the worst thing, there were established “cliques” of older groups who shunned their noses at my wife’s plight and wouldn’t assimilate. As my wife became incontinent because of so much medication for her pain, she needed help to go from the bed to the toilet (about 2 metres). Pressing the buzzer meant an average halh hour wait before someone came, by which time she soiled herself. She tried several times to go on her own with several bad falls as a result. She cried the whole three weeks she was there. This place was a money making business, as it had 330 residents, so they take the money and look at you as if they’re doing you a favour to be there. I brought her home, and despite my best efforts to escort her whilst preparing dinner one night, she suddenly fell, breaking her shoulder and fracturing other bones in her arms and legs, sadly she also has Osteo Porosis with fragile bone structure.

    So off she goes to hospital for four weeks. In the meantime I find a good place close to where my daughter lives, so at least she could keep an eye on her mother. Now you would think everyone could relax and live happily everafter. Wrong again!

    This second aged care place had all good attributes, permanent registered nurses, doctors on call, excellent meals, very low staff/resident ratio (about 1:6) low resident numbers (40) a small apartment with bedroom, lounge, GrdFlr balcony, tea making area and a full disabled shower with a small wardrobe space where she could display her favourite pottery. The staff were courteous and very helpful, in essence a perfect place. She is very happy to be there.

    So what’s the problem? you ask. Cost! This place was so expensive, I ended up selling my house and downsizing to find a unit close by so I didn’t drive for 2 hours 2 or 3 times a week to see her. Now listen carefully Minister Greg Hunt you two faced liar.

    Your Department of Health charges me $2,620 per month on top of $5,100 per month nursing home fees. I get zero, zilch from the government. I figure with the minimal super return of $1280 per month my out of pocket fees are $6,440 per month. Add $160 for pharmacy bills, $80 for hairdressing (my wife deserves that) and I have to find $$6,700 just for the nursing home. Hopefully I will last 5 years before all our savings disappear.

    So why Minister? are you charging us an additional $2,620 per month on top of massive fees? I’m not asking for any handout, just not this very onerous tax imposed on no income, except the $7,680 we each earn from our super per year (note: not per month). These incomes are well below the no tax threshold of $36,000 per year, so why do we need to pay the government? The nursing home is paid by us for it’s services and costs the government nothing. I am now living below the poverty line, and find it hard to find money for everyday living expenses.

    There are hundreds of thousands of elderley people in this position, and get by solely on the grounds they are forced to sell their house. With house prices plummeting, this will become an ever increasing burden. In other words, the government is robbing poor people to give tax cuts to voters and stay in power. Shame you bastards!.

    Lets hope these LNP A***holes will be turfed out without a pension and see if they can survive. I challenge your Departyment and you personnaly Mr. Hunt to reply to this post but I bet you are still ducking for cover, and your silence is deafening.

  3. 0

    Like many other people I have suffered from Chronic Back Pain due to an accident at work with the Australian Army. I have recently been referred to a specialist and after many forms & keeping a dairy for many months I had an appointment with him and his team and he recommended Medical Cannibis which I had to build up slowly to a suitable dose. It’s been helping me greatly & reducing my pain which is great but the cost is using my savings quickly as I’m only on a disability pension and in about 6 weeks it’s cost me $1100.00 I believe that this should be on the PBS as it would people to be able to get more active and healthy and save the government a bloody fortune in the long run as like me people could be on less medication as I’ve reduced my Fentynl from 100mgc to 12.5 and I hope to be totally off all Opoid medication in a few months but only if I can get help with the cost. I worked for 15 more years after the accident until I was out off for health reasons, it broke my heart having to give up work but I had no other option.

    • 0

      medicinal cannabis is still in trials. Once the required evidence is gathered and assessed it is likely to be available on the PBS like any other drug. Unfortunately this takes time. But it is a process that must be gone through.

      In the meantime you might find this useful:

      As you can see you could import it yourself quite legally by following the steps provided. This happens a lot with the very expensive drugs that are unavailable here (consider the medications for HIV and HCV before they were made universally available).

  4. 0

    Marty1, sorry to hear about your back pain. Are you or do you qualify as a war veteran? If you feel you are entitled to a War Veteran’s pension, by all means, get onto Veteran’s Affairs in your State and badger them about your pain mitigation. You will need to speak to a VA doctor and explain your pain condition. If you qualify, as a VA pensioner, you will also qualify for free medical treatment, especially for a wartime injury. Veteran Affairs have some of the best hospitals in every state, and they will look after your medical needs for life.

    It’s not unheard of to have 80-90-year-old war veterans being looked after, with things like regular visits, ambulance service, even palliative care all completely free, including pharmaceuticals. I’m assuming you have done this and they would have told you your entitlements. I wouldn’t bother with the department of health or Medicare, when Veteran’s Affairs should look after all your needs medically and physically, till death, even if you left the army. Once a War Veteran, you will always be one and the resposibility of Veteran’s Affairs.

    I worked for Veteran’s Affairs for 19 years, as a hospital architect and i designed the new ward block and outpatients department at Repat Hospital Heidelberg back in the 80’s, and all staff bent over backwards to help war veterans, especially if they suffered a war injury. I wish I got the same enttilements as war veterans, but then I was born at the end of world war 2 in 1944 so I was too young to participate in a war and qualify for the pension.

    They (VA’s) are only human and don’t always perhaps give everyone the same treatment, but they do have an appeal process so you should qualify if you meet their conditions.



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