‘Everything on the table’ for home care reform

When it comes to reforming the in-home care services sector, no idea should be left unconsidered, delegates at an industry conference have heard.

When it comes to reforming the in-home care services sector, no idea should be left unconsidered, delegates at an industry conference have been told in Sydney this week.

Speaking at the Aged & Community Care Providers Association’s NSW/ACT state conference on Monday, ACCPA CEO Tom Symondson said: “I think everything should be on the table and that’s why we need to get Support at Home right and that’s why we were actually quite happy to see a 12-month deferral because we were nowhere near getting it right.”

The new system – which comes into effect from 1 July 2025 – needs to be easier to access for consumers and providers alike Mr Symondson told delegates at the Hilton Sydney Hotel.

“The reason we want a new home care scheme that covers [Commonwealth Home Support Package] and [Home Care Packages] and is different to both is because we want it to be more responsive, we want it to be more accessible – we want it to be easier to navigate. Not just for consumers but also for providers because neither of these systems were built to be particularly easy to engage with.”

As it stands, you’d need a PhD to navigate the current multi-strand system said Mr Symondson. “So we want it to be simpler and more straight forward.”

Mr Symondson was facilitating a panel discussion entitled, What does excellent care look like and what do we need to do to deliver it? 

Angela Robinson – national advisor community care at Calvary – said, as far as she was concerned, the home care sector was already excelling.

“I think there’s a lot of excellence that happens every day in the fact that we’re able to support someone to stay at home. That’s a real privilege. I don’t think we celebrate it enough – I think we do extraordinary things every day.”

Delegates at the ACCPA NSW/ACT state conference

Helen Miller is general manager in-home support services at LiveBetter. “We’re a home care provider in regional, rural and remote NSW and Queensland,” Ms Miller told delegates. “For us, it’s about the partnership that occurs between us as a provider and our consumers.”

As a home care provider, it’s important “to be responsive to the needs of the individual at any given time,” said Ms Miller, “… and that can change.”

She added that to achieve excellence in aged care you also needed a great workforce. “It’s about having the right staff with the right skill in the right place – that’s really, really important.”

Robert Orie – CEO of Jewish aged care provider Montefiore – called on the government to step back and reel in the regulation.

“From my view, the simple thing is we need the government to get a little bit out of the way of the aged care sector and allow us to do what we do best and that’s providing great care outcomes for people.

“Because at the moment, the framework we operate under is really more of an obstacle and an impediment than it is enabling us to actually do great things … We need to look at how the government can deregulate a bit in aged care and allow providers to be able to deliver great services.”

Lee Carissa – CEO of NSW provider Cranbrook Care – asked, if providing quality care was a given, how else then can providers achieve excellence in aged care? “Excellence – if it’s not care – how else do we deliver it? It might be services, leisure and lifestyle activities … that’s what I believe excellence in care is.”

Representing consumers on the panel, Samantha Edmonds – manager, policy and systemic advocacy at the Older Persons Advocacy Network – said: “In terms of excellence in aged care, it should be affordable, and it should equitable. So even if I can’t pay doesn’t mean I don’t get the same services as everyone else.”

Ms Edmondson also stressed the importance of co-design. “Partner with older people,” she told delegates. “Partner with the people who are using your services and find out directly from them what’s working, what’s not. What they want to see changed – what’s going to be better. Because at the end of the day it’s going to be better for everyone, not just for the older person.”

Main image left to right: Angela Robinson, Robert Orie, Helen Miller, Tom Symondson, Samantha Edmonds, Lee Carissa

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Tags: ACCPA, angela robinson, featured, helen miller, lee carissa, robert orie, samantah edmondson, Tom Symondson,

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