Federal Government releases details of new restorative care scheme

The Department of Social Services has begun consultations with the sector on the government’s new Short-Term Restorative Care Programme, and will host three workshops and a webinar to brief stakeholders.

The Department of Social Services has begun consultations over its proposed new Short-Term Restorative Care Program (STRC) and will host three workshops and a webinar to brief stakeholders throughout September and October.

The department is also seeking written feedback on a policy consultation paper on the key elements of the program, which it released on Tuesday.

The new program, announced by the government in this year’s budget, aims to help older people regain their independence after a setback, so they can remain living in, or return to, their homes, and will be therapy-focused.

The first tranche of 200 short-term restorative care places will be allocated by a competitive process in early 2016. The government will fund 2,000 places in total by 2021, with 12,000 clients expected to benefit.

It is proposed that:

  • Eligibility for the program will be assessed by Aged Care Assessment Teams through My Aged Care, and referrals would lapse after six months to emphasise its early intervention focus.
  • Service duration will be for up to eight weeks (56 days) per episode of care, with no extensions granted. (This timeframe is based on the average length of stay for completed episodes of transition care.)
  • Access to the program will be limited to a maximum of two episodes per year for individuals and each episode will require a separate approval by an ACAT. This is to deter ongoing service use, the department said.
  • To receive an allocation of places a provider must be an approved provider of flexible care under the Aged Care Act. The department is seeking feedback on whether providers should also be required to be a provider of home and/or residential aged care to allow the quality framework to be applied more easily and enable transition between care settings.

The government said the STRC program would have flexibility to be delivered in a home care or residential care setting or a combination of both settings.

The department is asking for feedback on whether eligibility should be restricted to people currently not receiving Commonwealth-subsidised residential, home or flexible care, or be extended to include those already receiving a home care package who would be required to take leave from that program. Commonwealth Home Support Programme clients would be allowed to continue to receive services under the CHSP when accessing the new STRC.

Unlike transition care, short-term restorative care will be available to people before they are admitted to hospital.

Consistent with the government’s contribution to the Transition Care Programme, the government will contribute approximately $190 per person per day as a flexible care subsidy to the new STRC program.

The policy is due to be finalised in November, the department said.

Workshops and webinar

The department will host a webinar on the program on 8 October,  2015.

Workshops in Brisbane and Melbourne will be held on 29 September and 1 October.

Submissions in response to the policy consultation paper close 19 October 2015.

For full details, visit the Department of Social Services’ website

Tags: budget-2015, dss, restorative care, therapy,

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