Positive steps in a much longer journey: aged care in Budget 2020-21

HammondCare CEO Mike Baird has welcomed Federal Budget aged care measures as positive steps in a much longer journey towards better aged care for older Australians.

Mr Baird said additional aged care spending including $1.6b for 23,000 new home care packages from November, $746.3m for COVID-19 support and $408.5m directed to safety, quality and reform would improve lives now but left room for significant further work following the February 2021 Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations.

“Aged care is a system challenged by the need for long term reform, awaiting far reaching findings from a royal commission while continuing to be at the frontline of the pandemic fight due to the vulnerability of the people we care for,” Mr Baird said.

“These significant pressures have received some key attention now, particularly by reducing the home care queue and continued COVID-19 support.

“But as a sector we need to focus on continued robust engagement with government, parliament and the community more broadly as together we respond to Royal Commission findings in the coming year.

“It’s important to get budget settings and reform strategy right, but even more significant is our attitude as a society to older people. When we properly address the value and dignity of the elderly, the will and resources to get aged care right will follow.”

Mr Baird has also welcomed additional funding for Dementia Support Australia, which utilises dementia care expertise across the sector, providing a three-level nationwide support service for people living with dementia impacted by behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia.

“DSA is already on the ground ready to support better care and it is pleasing to see this extended in response to the isolation and severe emotional and physical impact the pandemic has had for many residents and especially the more than 50% in residential aged care who live with dementia,” Mr Baird said.