More than 10,000 new packages to allow older Australians to remain in their home for longer will be rolled out from December 1, the Morrison Government announced yesterday. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised $537 million to increase home care packages, reduce the use of chemical restraints and get younger people out of residential aged care as recommended in the aged care royal commission’s interim report.
Mr Morrison said the commission was a “very uncomfortable” exercise for all Australians that revealed disturbing scandals involving the treatment of vulnerable older people.
“I want to assure all Australians that we will deal with these issues as you would if you were standing in my shoes today,” Mr Morrison said. ”I know quite precisely the sorts of things that you are thinking about at the moment when it comes to the treatment of your loved ones in aged care.”
The new measures include providing better medication management and dementia training for nursing home staff, and introducing new targets to remove younger people with disabilities from residential facilities.
The additional 10,000 home care packages, at a cost of $496.3 million, will be for level three and four packages, which provide a high level of care.
Earlier this year, the Department of Health told the commission it would take $2 billion to $2.5 billion extra each year to provide access to everyone on the home care waiting list at the level of care they needed.
The interim report, released on October 31, called for a fundamental overhaul of the aged care system and the way it is designed, funded and regulated. It said there was “widespread over-prescribing, often without clear consent, of drugs which sedate residents, rendering them drowsy and unresponsive to visiting family”.
Opposition ageing and seniors spokeswoman Julie Collins said the response was “miserly” and the government had “fallen at the first hurdle”.
She said the additional home care packages were “just a drop in the ocean”, saying 16,000 older Australians had died last year while waiting for home care.
The final royal commission report is due on November 12, 2020.
Morrison pledges $537m for aged care in response to royal commission (Sydney Morning Herald)