Aged care delays cause further issues

February 10, 2015 | Aged Care Finance

Financial sustainability and staffing places are currently prominent issues in the Australian aged care sector, but there are renewed concerns about extended waiting lists for community care services following the release of a new report.

Fewer than 60 per cent of the 25,700 new clients who were approved for home care in the last financial year actually took their places within three months, according to a report from the Productivity Commission.

This release explained that 7.9 per cent of clients started receiving their home care packages within a week of an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). Within a month of the ACAT, 30 per cent of individuals received their packages.

The Productivity Commission report is troubling, and the statistics aren’t favourable, given the rising need for appropriate levels of care within the home.

Australian Ageing Agenda (AAA) explained that Federal government is set to increase the number of home care packages to 100,000 places come 2017 (up from 60,000 currently). Apparently, industry bodies have already come forward about the insufficient supply of home care packages, and the pressure this places on hospitals as well as informal carers.

It’s definitely easy to see how a lack of places can lead to mounting concern – something that will only worsen with further population increases.

Addressing demand and supply issues  

When speaking to AAA, Aged Care Gurus principal Rachel Lane explained that there is currently a mismatch between demand and supply in various regions across Australia. This something that will only serve to add further pressure to the sector.

“In some locations I’ve heard reports of up to 120 applications for one home care package and in other states providers have the home care packages allocated but they can’t find the clients to deliver the care services to,” Ms Lane explained.

“Clearly, the distribution of packages is not going where the care is needed and that’s a big problem.”

With home and residential care places becoming increasingly important to support an ageing population, packages need to be delivered where they’re actually needed.

There’s currently a substantial amount of government funding being funnelled into residential and community care services, with $14.8 billion allotted in 2013-14.

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