Budget a mixed bag for aged care

This year’s Federal Budget has delivered a mixed bag for aged care, with new initiatives welcome but systematic changes still needed in home care, according to HammondCare chief executive Dr Stephen Judd.

“$100 million for older Australians living with a mental health disorder is a fantastic commitment to an area of great and growing need. An additional $5 million for dementia care is also a great start,” Dr Judd said.

“We are especially pleased to see the creation of additional high level home care packages over the next four years. This will support older people to stay at home for longer and receive the care they deserve.”

But with the home care queue already in excess of 100,000 people, Dr Judd said a system solution was necessary to help more people access government-subsidised support.

“It’s a bit like getting to the airport and the queue is out the door, even though the planes have empty seats. Adding more flights is only one part of the solution if there’s a bottleneck at the ticket counter,” Dr Judd said.

Dr Stephen Judd with Julie Collins MP and Senator Dean Smith MP At the Parliamentary Friends of Ageing and Aged Care Group in Feb 2018.

HammondCare has proposed a superannuation-style solution to the home care queue, which would see those at the top of the waiting list automatically assigned a provider if they are unable to choose one within a designated time limit.

People would still have the freedom to change their provider, but removing “the paralysis of choice” would enable more people to receive care sooner, according to Dr Judd.

“Choice is a wonderful thing, but sometimes too much choice can actually be a bad thing, especially when you don’t know where to start,” he said.

“The superannuation-style home care solution would uphold the principle of choice while ensuring more people receive care sooner – especially those most in need of immediate support.”

Media inquiries: For more information or to request an interview, please contact Jenny Stevenson at jkstevenson@hammond.com.au or on (02) 8280 8412.

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