The federal budget was announced on the evening of May 13, resulting in massive discussion over the impacts on various industries and sectors. Aged care had a number of changes, many of which will be seen over the next few years.
It's going to be crucial for providers to understand the coming changes, and make any adjustments necessary to aged care facility operations – whether it be in terms of care or finances.
The stand-out changes in the budget will be explored below.
$1.5 billion for aged care
The government has announced the redirection of $1.5 billion from the Aged Care Workforce Supplement into the general aged care funding pool. It's hoped that all programmes previously eligible for the supplement will benefit from the redirection.
Commonwealth Home Support changes
Perhaps the change with the biggest potential repercussions, the government has announced a $1.7 billion saving over the next 10 years by reducing the annual growth rate in funding for the Home Support Program from 2018-19.
This will result in a drop from 6 per cent down to 3.5 per cent.
Such a substantial funding reduction in home care could result in a push for aged care facilities, due the potential savings. The higher levels of care available within a facility could also be substantial motivators.
Over the next few years, the government says building a flexible aged care system is key.
"Reforms are being implemented progressively and will give consumers more choice, easier access and better care. It will also build a better and more sustainable aged care system," said a spokesperson from the Department of Social Services.
Aged care changes are becoming increasingly important, given the rapid growth of the industry. Changes that offer flexibility and choice for residents will likely continue to remain priorities.