Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the voice of aged care, has released a report comparing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with the aged care system and found that the range of support and care available to older Australians pales in comparison to the support options available to NDIS participants.

Counsel Assisting’s final submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety highlighted the NDIS offers a higher level of care and more comprehensive supports than the current aged care system backed by a higher level of government funding.

“Australians with a disability receive much needed care and support through the NDIS which includes choice and flexibility according to their needs,” LASA Chief Executive Officer Sean Rooney says.

“The NDIS shows how, with commitment, we can meet the needs of those in need of support in our community. As the Royal Commission found, our aged care system is a long way from this, describing in its final report as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unsustainable’.”

“LASA’s report found that total Government funding for aged care recipients averages around one-quarter of that allocated to NDIS participants.

“Overall we see less funding per aged care recipient and this results in fewer available hours of care when compared with NDIS participants, plus there are limits placed on funding in aged care for reablement, social engagement, behaviour support, care management and assistive technology.

“This often leaves aged care recipients, particularly in home care, contending with unmet needs. Where their funds are insufficient, they will often accumulate funding for future demands or seek alternative sources of support to cross-subsidise their aged care needs.”

The LASA report found:

  • For care recipients requiring high levels of funded support, average residential aged care (RAC) participant funding represents half that provided to NDIS participants accessing specialist disability accommodation. This extends out to near 70 per cent less when comparing maximum RAC and NDIS participant funding.

When accommodation is excluded, average Level 3-4 Home Care Package funding represents about 30 per cent less funding than that provided to NDIS participants with similar support needs.

  • For care recipients requiring moderate levels of funded support, average level 1-2 home care package funding represents about 20 per cent less funding than that provided to NDIS participants with similar support needs.
  • For care recipients requiring low levels of funded support, the difference appears more substantial, with average Commonwealth Home Support Package (CHSP) participants receiving over 80 per cent less funding than that provided to NDIS participants with low level support needs.

“Given CHSP clients account for two-thirds of all aged care recipients, this amounts to a substantially lower level of overall funding being made available,” Mr Rooney said.

“In this respect, LASA’s consistent call for an Ageing Well Strategy with a strong focus on reablement and restorative care would be of major benefit to the large majority of older Australians accessing aged care.

“Our study comparison also highlights the difference in the way each program assigns participants their funded supports. NDIS funding allocations are largely uncapped, matched to assessed need and provided at a level that can deliver reasonable and necessary support.

“However, aged care funding allocations are capped within set funding bands as determined through assessment of need.”

“Without aged care recipients having access to adequate levels of funding support to supplement the cost of their aged care needs the level, quality and outcomes of the care and support they receive may suffer,” said Mr Rooney.

“This ultimately increases pressures on older people, the aged care workforce and providers of services.

“System settings need to be focused on the respect and essential human rights of our elders, so they can access reasonable and necessary supports matched to assessed need.”

The full report is available here – Comparing aged care and NDIS support: A funding analysis

Media contacts: Nick Way or Kate Hannon 08 6311 7809