Late last year the Department of Health published the waiting list for Home Care Packages (HCP). As at 30 September 2017, there were 101,508 people waiting for an HCP. Of those people 40,806 had an HCP but not at the level they required.
HCPs come at four levels. Level 1 covers domestic assistance and Level 4 covers assistance that used to be only provided in nursing homes.
The waiting list for HCP 3 and 4 had 78,466 people on it.
Assuming that included in that number are the 40,806 people who had an inadequate HCP, a minimum of 37,660 people were waiting for an HCP 3 or 4 but had no or little assistance at all in the meantime. For most not even help with house cleaning.
To ease the problem, the Government made a further 6,000 HCPs 3 and 4 available in September last year.
A report published by Dementia Australia (formerly Alzheimers Australia) estimates that there are more than 200,000 Australians providing informal unpaid assistance to people with dementia.
The vast majority of people with dementia living in the community (182,000) rely on an informal carer to support them. 45,500 people with dementia living in the community rely solely on informal care and do not access any formal care services.
The report makes the point that there is an urgent need for more respite places in residential aged care.
Another point that can be made is that those 45,500 people with dementia are most likely on the HCP 3 and 4 waiting lists. Their informal carers (spouses, friends, children) have virtually no prospect of any relief, to Australia’s shame.