ALTHOUGH there’s still no plan on how to fix the shocking shortage of aged care places, the Australian Government has thrown an additional $662 million at both residential aged care and the Home Care Packages program.
The additional money is split as follows:
$282.4 million for 10,000 home care packages across levels 1 to 4;
A $320 million general subsidy boost in 2018-19 to residential aged care services;
A $4.2 million mandatory national aged care quality indicator program;
$7.7 million to enhance the safety, quality and integrity of home care;
$35.7 million to increase home care supplements for dementia and cognition and veterans;
A $4.6 million trial of a new residential care funding tool to replace the Aged Care Funding Instrument;
A new $7.4 million business advisory service for both residential and home care providers to help them improve their operations and share best practice.
The additional money to fund an additional 10,000 Home Care Packages comes on top of the 10,000 Home Care Packages made available late last year.
That’s a seemingly impressive 20,000 packages, but it addresses a waiting list of 127,000 of people on inadequate Packages or no Package at all.
Clearly, a plan is needed, because 20,000 is a drop in the ocean. It’s a big drop, but a drop nonetheless.
What is very good news is the Government’s commitment to the introduction of mandatory national aged care indicators to measure performance of nursing homes. No timeline has been given for their introduction and neither is it known which indicators will be introduced. It is clear, though, that physical and chemical restraints of nursing home residents will be addressed as part of the indicator program.