Extra home care packages a win for aged care sector

Extra home care packages a win for aged care sector

The Federal Government’s announcement of an extra 14,000 high-level home care packages and 13,500 residential care places over the next four years has been welcomed by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.

“The huge waiting list for home care packages was one of the most pressing issues raised by the senior residents who attended our public forum with Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt last week,” Rebekha said.

“This list has ballooned out to 102,000 applicants after the Government switched the funding model which revealed a clearer picture of the actual demand for home care services.

“The message from the forum is that there just weren’t enough Level 4 packages for those who really need high-level care and people weren’t being given the support they needed or, sadly, died before they could receive a care package.

“These additional 14,000 high-level home care packages and 13,500 residential care places will help to ease the pressure in a sector where we have nearly 75,000 Australians receiving support at home and some 240,000 people living in residential care.”

Other measures benefitting the aged care sector include:

  • $60 million for capital investment in aged care facilities;
  • $102 million for mental health services in aged care residential facilities and isolated elderly Australians in the community;
  • $61.7 million to simplify age care processes, such as making the My Aged Care website easier to use and developing simpler assessment forms;
  • A national online register for Enduring Powers of Attorney.

“The extra money for mental health services for the sector is fantastic news,” Rebekha said.

“When I heard the Minister tell us last week that up to 40 per cent of people in residential aged care didn't receive a visitor during the year and that he had visited a facility where 100 per cent of residents received no visitors, I was shocked.

“I welcome the focus on mental health in the aged sector and I’m looking forward to working with my community to make sure we address the issues of loneliness and disconnection.

“I also welcome the commitment to make the My Aged Care website easier to use and developing simpler assessment forms because having to battle the bureaucracy is a regular complaint from my constituents.”

More than 250 people packed the McCracken Convention Centre for a public forum with Minister Wyatt and Rebekha on May 1.

The forum was part of a one-day visit to the electorate which also involved a roundtable discussion with aged care service providers at Strathalbyn in the morning and a visit to Southern Cross Care’s Sandpiper Lodge facility in Goolwa.