For a lot of older people, especially those over the age of 75 or 80, having a fall at home or an illness can lead to the prospect of life in an aged care facility.
Often a fall or a hospital stay can be the time when family have the discussion about putting an older relative in aged care.
But the government is taking action to try and change that, starting an innovative new aged care program called Short-Term Restorative Care.
Short-Term Restorative Care aims to help older people remain in their own homes after they suffer an injury or illness, instead of prematurely entering an aged care facility.
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced 475 Short-Term Restorative Care places would be funded at a cost of up to $34.7 million a year.
Unlike normal aged care or home care packages, the Short-Term Restorative Care packages are limited to periods of up to eight weeks to help older Australians who have been sick or injured get back on their feet.
“It increases the care options available in circumstances, for example, where older people would benefit from targeted intervention to recover from short-term incapacity or injury,” Mr Wyatt said.
“The care plan is designed with, and approved by, the person receiving the care and can be delivered at home, in an aged care home or a combination of both.”
Older people who suffer a fall at home can apply for Short-Term Restorative Care, and if approved, their care provider can arrange physical therapy – supported by the person’s doctor and allied health care professionals.
They would be able to work together to identify any hazards in the home, and get the older person back on their feet.
More than 3000 people will be able to access the program each year.
Mr Wyatt said older Australians wanted and needed flexible care services that encourage their independence.
“Short-Term Restorative Care is just that – helping people age well and access care when and where they need it on an ‘as-needs’ basis,” he said.
“This package represents a big step forward in designing services that place the needs and wishes of the consumer at the core.”
The government’s Short-Term Restorative Care announcement has been praised by the aged care industry.
Aged & Community Services Australia CEO Pat Sparrow said aged care providers had a strong commitment towards restorative care.
“The number of applications for the places available are a good indication of this commitment,” she said.
“Aged care providers want to be able to adopt restorative care approaches in all of the services they deliver. How this can be achieved will be an ongoing discussion point as aged care reform progresses.”
For more information about the Short-Term Restorative Care program, visit https://agedcare.health.gov.au/2016-17ACAR.