How much is home care allowed to cost?

Article published 16 September 2020

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ON 14 September 2020, CPSA was summoned to give evidence at the Aged Care Royal Commission at its hearing about the all-important funding of aged care.

One of the proposals put to CPSA was about home care. Counsel Assisting proposed that the maximum subsidy for a Home Care Package should be no higher than the maximum subsidy for a place in a nursing home.

Should you need more money for care-at-home, then you pay for it.

This sounds reasonable, but there are a few buts.

Few people would have the money to pay more. This would mean that those who can’t afford to pay, either go into a nursing home or, if they own their own home, find a reverse mortgage to raise the cash to supplement the subsidy they get as part of their Home Care Package.

Care-at-home can end up costing more than a place in a nursing home, because of any number of reasons.

People’s homes aren’t set up for efficient care delivery. When it comes to deliver care efficiently, nursing homes win hands down.

Home care can’t compete with this.

So, by limiting the maximum subsidy for home care to the maximum subsidy for nursing home care, there can be less money for some people. This seems unfair.

It seems especially unfair when you factor in (1) that in home care there is often a partner or a family member who provides ‘informal’ care for free and (2) that if a pensioner couple splits up because one partner is going into a nursing home, they both get a single pension instead of a couple’s pension, and this would cost the taxpayer $12,000 more in pension payments a year. Much better to spend that money on more home care.

Sticking people in nursing homes who don’t want to and don’t need to be in one is not the answer.

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