An extra 10,000 home care packages - but is it enough?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $537 million funding package this week in response to the Aged Care Royal Commission’s Interim Report.

The package will provide:

  • $496.3 million for an additional 10,000 home care packages
  • $25.5 million to improve medication management programs to reduce chemical restraint and new restrictions and education for prescribers
  • $10 million for dementia training and support to reduce the use of chemical restraint
  • $4.7 million to meet new targets to remove younger people with disabilities from residential care.

The new home care packages will be targeted at higher needs recipients requiring Level 3 and 4 packages and will begin rolling out from 1 December 2019.

A start but not nearly enough

National Seniors Australia welcomes the increased funding for aged care but was disappointed that more funding wasn’t made available to meet the significant backlog of demand for home care.

According to estimates provided by the Department of Health, an extra $2 -$2.5 billion is needed to deal with unmet demand for home care services.

“The government’s response to fund an extra 10,000 places is less than the number of people who died last year waiting for a package,” National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said.

“Today’s funding announcement of $496 million for the packages is only a quarter - at best, of what is needed to fix this tragic mess.”

With the increase in the proportion of older people in care with dementia and the reported overuse of chemical restraint to “manage” people suffering dementia, we welcome the Federal Government’s response to the royal commission’s call for immediate action in this area.

However, Mr Henschke questioned whether the funding was anywhere near enough to support the estimated 360,000 direct care workers across home and residential care.

National Seniors also strongly supports young people with disability being removed from residential care settings, as this is not appropriate.

Except in exceptional circumstances, the Federal Government will seek to ensure there are:

  • no people under the age of 65 entering residential aged care by 2022
  • no people under the age of 45 living in residential aged care by 2022
  • no people under the age of 65 living in residential aged care by 2025.

We will monitor progress in this area to ensure this is achieved.

A voice for change

From Sunrise to Sky News; regional radio to nationally syndicated programs, National Seniors continues to work around the clock to ensure your voice is heard in the media.

You can stay up to date with our recent media appearances by visiting the In the Media section of our website.

Let's go

Keep informed and join the fight

We will continue to lobby government and industry for increased funding to the aged care sector.

Our campaigns to fix pension poverty, reduce out-of-pocket health costs and promote better housing options for older Australians will also continue.

But we need your support.

You can stay up to date with developments and add your voice to the cause by joining our advocacy campaigns.

Learn more