Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the delivery of an additional 10,000 home care packages as part of the government’s response to the Aged Care Royal Commission’s Interim Report.
A total of $496.3 million has been allocated to the delivery of the packages, which are set to be rolled out from December 1. The funding will go specifically towards level 3 and level 4 packages, which provide a high level of care to the elderly.
It comes in addition to the record funding of $21.6 billion allocated by the Morrison government in the May budget, towards improving the country’s aged care system. This included a promise of $282 million to be spent over five years from 2018 on an extra 10,000 home care packages (HCP).
The promise is a welcome relief to the thousands of Australians still waiting for care through a HCP. Earlier this year experts claimed there were still 43 Australians dying every day without ever receiving the home care they were promised.
The government’s own aged care platform, My Aged Care, acknowledges that people requiring anything but the most basic level of home care face a wait of more than 12 months. And COTA, the peak body representing older Australians, claimed that the official number understates the wait many people experience.
“There are still far too many older Australians waiting more than 18 months for care, while around 43 per day die while waiting,” COTA said in a statement at the time.
The new funding towards HCPs, comes as part of a $537 million funding package in response to the Interim Report. The government has addressed three priority areas for attention, including HCPs.
As part of the improvement of elderly care, the government will unify the Home Care and Commonwealth Home Support Programs, in line with the Royal Commission’s recommendation to deliver a seamless system of care, tailoring services to the needs of the individual.
“These changes will be guided by the final recommendations of the Royal Commission and will have the goal of improving care and ending the wait for home care packages,” a joint government statement read.
The other two areas addressed in the funding package include the allocation of $25.5m to improve medication management programs to reduce the use of medication as a chemical restraint on aged care residents and $10m for additional dementia training and support for aged care workers and providers.