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Queue for home care grows

The number of senior Australians seeking home care packages has grown by 14 per cent in just the last quarter, new data shows.

LASA chief executive Sean Rooney said the figures released by the Department of Health prove the need for a review of government resourcing and the Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms.

“This obvious shortfall in resourcing is not only impacting the care available to older Australians but providers are also facing increased challenges to deliver appropriate services and manage risks associated with unmet care needs,” Rooney said.

“In the short term, we believe more work needs to be done to ensure that available packages are reaching those who need them most, including reallocating inactive packages and utilising unspent funds in existing packages.

“Looking towards next year’s budget, a significant injection of funding will also be required to address the current waiting list and to make the system sustainable in the longer term.”

According to the quarterly report, on 30 September, more than 60,000 people were waiting to be assigned a home care package, and a further 41,000 were receiving services below their assessed level of need.

The report also showed that a record 79,000 people were on the queue for a high-level package, an increase from 67,000 from the last quarter.

Rooney said LASA was grateful for the transparency of reports, and believed that while reforms were right in principle, they were met with challenges related to implementation, system changes and growing demand.

“This data provides a robust lens through which we can see how the ICHC program is performing and inform improvements to the way we deliver subsidised care to older Australians in their homes,” he said.

“LASA and our members stand ready to work with the government and others to resolve the identified issues in the service of older Australians.”

For the full report, click here

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