Aged care planning gone mad

Article published 19 March 2019

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There are just over 207,000 nursing home places in Australia, but only 187,000 of those places are filled, 20,000 are vacant. The nursing home occupancy rate is in free-fall. It’s just over 90 per cent when it used to be 98 per cent.

Meanwhile there are 96,000 people who have been approved for a nursing home place, but they’re not taking up their approval. They prefer to wait for a Home Care Package. Anyway, not that all 96,000 of them would fit into the 20,000 places that are currently spare.

The Australian Government keeps creating nursing home places with gay abandon. It has overshot its supply target for 2017-2018 of 204,700 permanent nursing home places by 3,000 places. Further increases are in the pipeline to bring capacity up to 234,000  places by 30 June 2022.

Even if the occupancy rate were to stay where it is at 90.3 per cent and not fall further, only 211,000 places would be needed.

In stark contrast, the Home Care Packages program, which now has an estimated  capacity of 112,000 and a waiting list of 128,000, is not in for such generous capacity boosts. Even though Home Care is where the demand is.

The Australian Government’s published target is for 151,500 Home Care Packages by the end of 2021-2022.  But current demand is for 161,000 Home Care Packages, while by 30 June 2022 demand is likely to have increased in line with an eleven per cent increase in the number of people aged 70-and-over to something like 177,000.

In a nutshell, the Australian Government is not only maintaining but increasing overcapacity in the residential aged care sector, while it is undersupplying the demand for Home Care Packages.

The question is: Why?

CPSA thinks we should be told.

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