Urgent home care reforms needed to curb care crisis

The Retirement Living Council (RLC) is calling for the Australian Government to implement urgent home care reforms following news that the number of Australians approved for a package but waiting to access funding has more than doubled over the past 12 months.

Despite the government’s announcement in the recent Budget that it would fund an extra 24,100 home care packages in FY25, new data has found more than 68,000 Australians have been approved for a package but are currently waiting to access funding.

RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon said with the number of Australians over 75 set to increase from
2 million to 3.4 million by 2040, the strain on the care system will only increase.

“The aged care system is breaking under the weight of ever-increasing demand,” Mr Gannon said.

“Year on year growth in demand for services, coupled with a reduction in the number of home care
providers, has created a situation where older Australians are waiting up to a year to receive urgent support so they can continue to live safely at home.

“The admission by the Department of Health and Aged Care representatives that the number of older
Australians waiting for a home care package is now more than 68,000 means that 68,000 older Australians have had their quality of life diminished, and they are not receiving the support they need to age in place with dignity.

“The policy approach to home care should reflect the willingness the privately funded retirement living sector has shown to want to help the fight against the aged care crisis,” he said.

Mr Gannon said the RLC’s Shared Care framework, which it submitted to the Australian Government ahead of the Budget, finds that retirement villages could help make the delivery of home care almost 20 per cent more efficient, while saving the commonwealth $100 million annually.

“This framework could help ensure that older Australians receive more care per dollar invested, while saving the government money, so it is a win-win,” he said.

“This ‘shared care’ approach would provide three models for retirement village operators to deliver community-based care services under the Support at Home program within the village setting, either independently or through a delivery partner.

“These models have been developed to show that significant efficiencies and savings to consumers and government can be achieved, even at moderate levels of uptake, with no cost to government.

“This is because retirement villages provide scale for delivering these services efficiently and cost
effectively by reducing travel costs incurred by service providers, increasing the frequency of service
delivery, and enhancing the quality and suite of services by leveraging those already in place at these
communities,” he said.


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