Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, has released survey data showing that maximum wait times for home care are often much longer than even the 12 months listed in the Government’s own figures.
The data, based on a sample of 23 home care package (HCP) providers representing over 10 per cent of HCPs drawn from LASA’s national Membership, shows that wait times for consumers on the national queue are often much longer than those published on My Aged Care.
“LASA’s data also suggests that consumers on interim packages often pass away or enter hospital or residential care before receiving the package that they were assessed as needing,” LASA CEO Sean Rooney said.
“LASA recommends reducing HCP wait times to no more than three months from the time of assessment to the time an older Australian receives support in their home.
“Shorter wait times should be phased in and supplemented by prioritising the queue based on an individuals’ financial circumstances. This would see older Australians who have the option of using their own funds or home equity to cover the cost of their care needs, whilst those people with limited resources access care as a priority.”
LASA also recommends that all unspent HCP funds returned to Government should be recycled into additional HCPs, and the Department of Health should publish clearer guidance for both providers and consumers on appropriate uses of HCP funds.
“Introducing a maximum wait time of no more than three months will provide certainty and stability for older Australians assessed as requiring care and support in their homes and establish a clear expectation that those in need of home care will not be forced to wait an unlimited period of time.
“Recent announcements by Government to increase or bring forward the release of new packages are helpful, but they still leave too many people waiting far too long with no certainty that they will ever receive the care they need,” Mr Rooney said.
“We have suggested the Government spend an additional $500 million per year to meet the needs of the growing numbers of older Australians on the home care national queue.
“The Government needs to make this commitment, along with a number of initiatives outlined in our pre-Budget submission, a priority in next week’s budget if it is serious about supporting older Australians to age in their homes.
“Ending uncertain and unacceptable wait times for home care is a key part of the reason that LASA is urging all aged care providers, staff, clients and family members to say to their local candidates ahead of the upcoming election, “I Care for Aged Care”.
Read LASA’s Home Care report here: LASA Home Care Provider Third Survey Report_27 March 19 FINAL
About Leading Age Services Australia (LASA)
LASA is the national peak body representing and supporting providers of age services across residential care, home care and retirement living. Our purpose is to enable a high performing, respected, and sustainable age services industry delivering accessible, affordable, quality care and services for older Australians.
We represent providers of age services of all types and sizes located across Australia’s metropolitan, regional and rural areas. Consistent with the overall industry profile, 57% of our Members are not-for-profit providers, 33% are for-profit providers and 10% are government providers.
Our diverse and representative membership gives LASA the ability to speak with credibility and authority on issues of importance to older Australians and the age services industry.
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