10,000 home care packages funded in $550m aged care boost

The federal government will provide $552.9 million for aged care spending and release 10,000 high-level home care packages within weeks.

The federal government has announced $553 million in aged care spending including the release of 10,000 home care packages and increased residential supplements for the homeless and people in regional areas.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

The splash-out is a centerpiece of the federal government’s Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, which forecasts a return to budget surplus and a raft of new aged care spending initiatives.

The new high-care home care packages will be available within weeks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Funding will be split across 5,000 level 3 and 5,000 level 4 care packages, providing up to $50,000 per person in services each year.

“We understand that older Australians prefer to receive support and services in their own home and live independently for as long as possible,” Mr Morrison said in a joint statement with aged care minister Ken Wyatt and health minister Greg Hunt.

The government will also provide $56.4 million to reduce the daily maximum fees payable to providers by up to $400 a year for level one packages, $200 a year for level two packages and $100 a year for a level three packages.

Money will also be invested in residential aged care for older Australians in rural and remote areas and those who have been affected by homelessness, Mr Morrison said.

The viability supplement for residential aged care providers in rural and remote areas will be increased by 30 per cent through an investment of $101.9 million and the homeless supplement will also get a 30 per cent boost of $9 million.

Meanwhile, $98 million will go towards increasing payments for GPs to attend residential aged care homes.

Industry welcomes funding but says more is needed

Pat Sparrow

The announcement has been received by industry as a positive step forward but the nation’s peak bodies agree that the initiatives don’t go far enough to alleviate current critical shortages in home care.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) says the funding commitments are a recognition by the government of the difficulties many older Australians face finding appropriate care, and home care in particular.

However, while the commitment to fund the additional home care packages will alleviate pressure in the short term “home care remains an area of acute need still with over 120,000 older Australians waiting to receive care at their level or without care at all,” CEO Pat Sparrow said.

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) echoed the sentiment and took heart in the government’s decision to make aged care funding a strategic MYEFO priority.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney
Sean Rooney

“It is clear that the need to provide adequate care and support for older Australians is an issue of national importance and will be a key issue in the lead up to the federal election,” CEO Sean Rooney said.

He said funding to bring forward the release of extra home care places was welcome, but much more was needed to assist those currently on the home care waiting list.

New packages fall short of what consumers hoped for

Consumer advocacy group COTA Australia welcomed the funds and the fact that almost 50 per cent would go towards additional home care packages.

CEO Ian Yates said COTA also welcomed the reduction in the maxium fee payable by consumers for level 1 to 3 packages and the increase in the government contribution by the same amount.

Ian Yates

However he said the 10,000 higher level packages were only a third of the 30,000 COTA is calling for.

“This a good step, a welcome step, but one that will still leave too many older Australians that the government has itself assessed as in need of high level care at home, without that care,” he said in a statement.

“Overall this package of measures is very welcome, but still falls short of a comprehensive response to fixing the aged care challenges of today, while the Royal Commission deals with the longer term.”

The rural viability supplement would provide extra funds for more than 550 services providing around 13,500 residential places, Mr Yates said, while the homeless supplement would assist 42 residential services supporting 1,700 residents.

Scant relief

The economic measures announced were unlikely to improve the financial struggles many aged care providers are currently facing, according to an analysis of the fine print by aged care accounting experts Stewart Brown, who said financial performance results for September, due to be published on Thursday, showed many providers are continuing to struggle, and the MYEFO measures were unlikely to shift the trend.

You can ready the full story here.

MYEFO 2018 at a glance

  • – Total spending on aged care expected to reach $23.5 billion in 2021-22
  • –  $287.3 million over three years for 5,000 level 3 and 5,000 level 4 home care packages
  • –  $56.4 million to reduce the maximum basic daily fee service providers can charge
  • –  $111.2 million to increase aged care rural viability and homeless supplements by 30 per cent
  • – $98 million for GPs to attend residential aged care homes
  • – $81.7 million to improve services, regulatory arrangements and workforce arrangements

Existing funding

  • – $104 million over four years for the aged care royal commission
  • – $17.2 million over two years for the Aged Care Quality Agency and Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to support the royal commission
  • – $0.6 million over for years for a national elder abuse hotline
  • – $2.1 million for a national register for Enduring Powers of Attorney

You can find the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook here.

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Tags: aged-care, buget, community-care-review-slider, home-care-packages, myefo, scott-morrison,

10 thoughts on “10,000 home care packages funded in $550m aged care boost

  1. What a great idea lets add more money to the bottom line of the package providers.
    A level 4 Home Care Package is said to be worth around $50,000 per year. The package provider will take some where between $15,000 and $25,000 per year in fee’s and charges.
    Stop funding more home care packages and start funding the service providers who actually support people to remain at home.

    A level 4 Home Care Package cannot support a person to have twice daily insulin injections by a nurse so they can remain at home.
    A community nursing service funded $50,000 per year can support 1.5 to 2 elderly people to have a twice daily insulin injection and remain in their home.

  2. Approximately 130,000 people on the wait list for an Aged Care Package and the government funds another 10,000 packages, a drop in the ocean.

    My mother was offered an Aged Care Package, but no one told her that if she accepted it she would no longer be able to attend her social support group 3 days per fortnight.
    When I asked this question to the ACAS assessor she said looking very sheepishly that it wasn’t her role to inform the people she assessed of this fact. When I asked the same question of an Aged Care Package manager she also mentioned this was correct but said she could offer an hour a week of gardening instead, “not much of a trade”.
    When we refused the Age Care Package were told that her 3 days of Social Support Group a fortnight and her domestic assistance (one hour a fortnight) exceeded a basic level of service and may need to be cut in the future unless she accepted a Home Care Package.
    What a great system where you threaten little old ladies to accept an Aged Care Package which will provide you with less services than you currently have and leave you socially isolated.

  3. Community nurse has a vested interest. Needs of HCP recipients vary. Some don’t need any services because they have their own unpaid carers in the form of family members. They might prefer to save up for a new access ramp or repair a leaking roof. Let the consumer direct what services and or supports they want and need.

  4. You don’t have to let providers take $15,000 or more per year. We charge $6,500 per year for Level 4 packages and so do lots of other providers. You have to shop around.

    That leaves a lot more money available for direct supports whether it is insulin injections, ramps or roof repairs.

    Vote with your feet and leave these overcharging, inefficient providers to get a better deal. The current system finally gives some power and control to older people but you have to be brave enough to use it.

  5. Be mindful that the cheapest is not necessarily the best. Consider choosing a provider with in-house social support centres and in-house nursing teams. The goal should be to achieve high quality care for your loved ones. Overcharging? We do not make a profit, we deliver services that are tailored to individual clients with their NEEDS at the forefront. We have our own social centres, social outings, nursing teams, physiotherapy teams PLUS there is access to coordinators. Many clients have shopped around and chosen us and no, we are not the cheapest.

  6. I agree with Distressed Son.

    We punish individuals resourcefulness in setting up a range of supports to keep them at home. When a package is offered there are many rules that then mess with existing arrangements. As a private Case Manager I encourage people with a need for a package to get approval and waitlisted. Once a package is offered the benefits can be hard to see at times as it can create a great deal of change for the individual/carers. This is particularly problematic for people who have been reluctant to accept services and are anxious to meet new carers/supports.

  7. Where my mother lives in a Rural Community the nursing, allied health and social support group provider is the local health service and the local council provides meals an wheels and home care services, so no matter who manages a package for her they will only have these organisations to purchase the required services from.

    People making these decisions need to get out of the city and see how things operate in the rural parts of Australia, there are not multiple providers to choose from even if multiple providers claim to offer services on My Aged Care.

    We recently moved our mother from the community she had lived in for 53 years due to the lack of services. When we were looking for Home Care Services for her there were 22 providers saying they provided services to that town. I phoned them all and only 1 had workers on the ground(the local council), some offered to advertise for staff if we agreed to sign an agreement for a specific number of hours of service per week.

    Our mother now lives in a larger community closer to her family but the local health service and the local council are still the only two service providers with workers on the ground. According to My Aged Care there are 47 providers of Domestic Assistance in this town. I have phoned many of them and this is not true. As for the 6 providers who claim on My Aged Care to provide social support groups, I have phoned all 6 and only the local health service actually provides this service.

    So before you tell me to shop around make sure I actually have somewhere to shop around and more than one provider to choose from.

  8. Health professional in Community Aged Care services in many different roles for over 20 years. Family Carer, for my 93 year old father with complex care needs on a level 4 package.

    I believe there should be a major shake-up in how the client’s money is spent. Yes, they should have some input into the services, but many people do not understand what they require to remain in their home until they end their days. In my experience since Consumer Directed Care (CDC) has been rolled out across the board and the money sits with the client the services are not meeting the needs of the clients care needs.
    Many Agencies are now employing Case Managers who do not have a health background which to my observation creates a risk to the client. I have observed that they do not have enough training and lack insight to manage the risk related to the client’s diagnosis.

    There is also concern that the clients often require more services but want to hold onto their excess money as they believe it is theirs. Some clients I have worked with have had over $50,000 in their contingency account!

    Home care cleaning services are run in a very inefficient manner. This time spent using a Support Worker who is not a professional cleaner is often not used efficiently, which is costed against the clients budget. I cannot understand why there is not another option where cleaners from professional cleaning companies are engaged to perform these tasks. This would assist to keep the clients budget down to allow for more direct services as a trained cleaner would be more efficient and their wages would be less than an Aged Care Support Worker.

    Finally, should the Commonwealth be funding trained Community Aged and Disability Workers to clean people’s houses? If we want these workers to feel valued and stay in the service system why give them this role.

  9. Re distressed son – I think he has been misinformed because she can continue to attend her group and the attendance fees can be paid from her package (at a higher rate than she would normally pay it has to be said but this can be negotiated). It is not the package at fault but the provider who is being inflexible. It’s really necessary to shop around and compare and it is beyond DISGRACEFUL that the government has only forced providers to publish their fees since last month! Pity those elderly who have no one to advocate on their behalf.

  10. I understand that there are many, many people on the waiting list, but I’m just wondering if any of this new money will make its way to North Qld? My mother is 81, in the past 6 months her health has deteriorated to the point where she has had many visits/stays at the hospital and also a stay in Respite at one of the nursing homes. She currently receives some services to help with cleaning and shopping and is on the waiting list for a My Age Care package. I know that she has been approved for a level 4 package and has been on the waiting list since November 2017. I was told there was a 12-18 months waiting list for a level 4. Last year I contacted My Aged Care to see if it was at all possible to bump her up on the list. They suggested adding her to the level 2 list, as she would get services sooner, given that the waiting list was only 1-3 months. I agreed, however, this would only give her very similar services to what she is receiving and she definitely needs more. She definitely does not want to go to a nursing home, but her health has meant that she has become confined at home as it is become difficult to get up and down the stairs. She has an old water lift, that has been there since my Dad needed it, but he passed away over 11 years ago and it is in bad need of maintenance and currently does not work at all. She is unable to afford to fix it personally and I am of the understanding that My Aged Care packages could assist with this, given that their mission is to keep people in their own homes for a long as possible.This past weekend, at her lowest point, she said to me and her elderly friend, that she wanted to commit suicide. In my 45 years, my mother has always been the most positive person I know, even in her darkest times. The thought of her having to leave her home is distressing her this much. She wants to live there as long as she can, and with extra services and possibly the implementation of some equipment, there is the possibility for her to do so.I’ve contacted My Aged Care again, today. Unfortunately they are never really helpful. I’ve asked what the wait time was for the level 4 package. I was told it was 12+ months. I said that I was told last year it was a 12 to 18 month waiting list and she had already been on it for 14 months. The lady I spoke to said that wasn’t the case and no one would’ve ever been given the timeframe of 12-18 months, so obviously I have dreamt that.
    I’ve worked in a similar field for over 20 years, and deal with Government departments all the time, never has it been as frustrating as My Aged Care. I feel that money isn’t spread out evenly throughout our state, with the “great south east” always taking precedence over the north. It’s a sad state of affairs, when both the elderly and their children are all just hoping that they will “go in their sleep” because as far as services go, they are pretty scarce.

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