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Peaks urge more home support for older Australians

Aug 17, 2018, 15:12 PM by Maiy Azize

Anglicare Australia has joined a coalition of leading not-for-profit aged care peak bodies said that in spite of a recent increase in home care funding today’s data shows a worrying and unsustainable trend in the demand and provision of home care packages for older Australians.

“These figures show a trend towards more people waiting for home care, more people being assigned packages that don’t meet their needs and more people joining the queue for services,” said ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow.

Figures for the quarter ended 31 March 2018, show the queue of those waiting to receive a package, or an appropriate package for their needs, rose to 108, 456 people compared to 104, 602 for the December quarter.

Around half (54, 821 people) of those in the queue were assigned a lower level package than their needs required, and the remaining half were yet to receive a package (53,635 people).

“Nationally, there are now 54,821 people in the queue still without any package assigned, or settling for a lower package than they require - a more than 14 per cent jump since the last data report.”

“This is beyond frustrating for those older Australians waiting for care, not to mention their families, and without further investment recognising the problem as one of sustainability in funding going forward the problem will only get worse,” said Ms. Sparrow.

Paul Sadler, spokesperson for Presbyterian Care Australia, said limited home care choice and provision will eventually add pressure on other aged care services:

“It is important for people to get the care they need at home for their quality of life and also to avoid or defer a move to costlier permanent residential aged care. An inability to access a HCP when it is needed may severely limit the support choices of an older person,” he said.

“Projecting into a future with growing numbers of older Australians, home care provision will get even worse unless the government takes action to fix the problem now,” said Marcia Balzer, Executive Director of Baptist Care Australia.

“This is about how we value older Australians. People must be able to get the care they need at home - or we are severely limiting the choices of older people,” said Kasy Chambers, Executive Director of Anglicare Australia.

“More must be done to deliver timely care to those that need it,” said Ms. Sparrow. “It’s unacceptable that so many older Australians should be left without the care they need or endure a long and unnecessary wait.”

ACSA and the other peaks are calling on the Government to provide:

  • An immediate release of more packages particularly more level 3 and 4.
  • Additional support for assessment processes and services to ensure the prioritisation process is as effective and efficient as it can be.