For years we have seen a push for more Australians to age at home, primarily in response to the growing numbers of the ageing baby boomers population.
But it seems the Government has dropped the ball with the Home Care Packages Program, as evidenced by the Royal Commission into Aged Care.
Recommendations made by the Royal Commission included clearing the waitlist for a home care package.
According to Aged Care Ready Associate Director, Naomi Anderson, current wait times for a level 4 package are in excess of 24 months – which is deplorable.
“When a person is approved for a higher level package, they are often allocated a lesser package in the interim,” shares Ms Anderson.
“However, as they wait for a level 3 or 4 package, with a level 1 or 2 package in place that doesn’t meet half of their needs their condition deteriorates to the point where they can wait no longer and are forced into an aged care facility.”
Ms Anderson believes home care packages are a great initiative in theory, however the entire scheme is grossly underfunded, disorganised and entirely lacks forethought.
How can a system that is already in crisis meet the needs of a 139% increase of ageing people in a 30 year period? (reference).
Naomi stresses something has to change, and it has to change now.
“The Royal Commission has made some strong recommendations that couldn’t come soon enough,” says Ms Anderson.
“One of these is the number of packages available must be increased dramatically, to make in home support accessible for more people – especially for those who are already on the waitlist,” she says.
“This is to be completed by 31/12/21 and waitlists for home care packages are to be kept clear – home care packages to be allocated Australian’s within one month of approval – at the level that they have been assessed for.”
“To be completed within an 18 month period between 2022 and 2024 this is such a stark contrast to the current waitlists.
Another recommendation was public reporting each quarter on the status of waitlists – showing progress in waitlist clearing to start commencing by the end of March 2021 – this is holding the government accountable and makes the process transparent.
According to The Royal Commission, the current 50-day requirement to find a suitable home care provider is to be increased to 150 days.
“These are positive recommendations, however, what else desperately needs consideration is how this additional support will be staffed,” says Naomi Anderson.
“In a system that is already so dangerously understaffed, what forethought will be given to how a strong, safe and reliable workforce be secured?.”
Aged Care Ready are committed to guiding the ageing population and their families during this time no matter where they are placed in Australia.
If you wish to speak with a friendly advisor near you, please contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org