Concerns Over Wait Time For Home Care Packages
Wednesday, 3rd October 2018 at 5:25 pm
Aged-care groups are questioning the effectiveness of the federal government’s home care funding boost, saying more needs to be done to address the long periods people are waiting for home care services.
The government announced on Tuesday there would be an additional $100 million pumped into the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) over a two year period.
But a coalition of various advocacy and not-for-profit aged care groups, including Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), Anglicare Australia, and Baptist Care, were not entirely pleased with the announcement.
They said while the funding boost was welcomed, they were concerned over recently released home care data, which showed a growing number of older Australians had high care needs, but none of the home care services they required.
Wendy Rocks, managing director of Lutheran Care in Albury, said data at the end of 2017 showed the number of people waiting for a Home Care Package (HCP) had grown to over 121,000, including 40,000 people assessed as needing a higher level care package than they currently had.
“Those people are waiting without any support and have the highest need levels, but are waiting more than a year for a level three or level four package to enable them to live safely in their own homes,” Rocks said.
ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow said she welcomed the additional funds, but was similarly alarmed at how many were still waiting for their HCP.
“We welcome funds for important additional services like domestic assistance, meal deliveries, transport and home maintenance but we remain alarmed at the number of people on a waiting list for a HCP,” Sparrow said.
In 2015, the government said they would merge HCP and CHSP, something the coalition still supported, however there was no mention of that in the recent funding announcement.
“CHSP must continue to perform its function offering lower level home supports that promote a person’s capabilities to live safely in the community, and not merely become a funding stop-gap for HCP,” national director of UnitingCare Australia Claerwen Little said.
The group outlined a number of recommendations for the government to take on board, including properly resourcing an assessment service so people get the right HCP, a reduction of wait times, and supporting culturally and linguistically diverse, Indigenous, and homeless people to understand and make decisions about the care they needed.
In a statement, the Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and those at risk of or homeless people would be able to access CHSP, but did not give any further details.
“The CHSP is available to people aged 65 years and over, or 50 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Wyatt said.
“It also includes support services for prematurely aged people on low incomes who are 50 years or over and are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”
The first payment to providers will be made early 2019.