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Federal Budget 2021: We Unpack the Key Aged Care Outcomes

The government’s $17.7 billion response to the final report of the Aged Care Royal Commission was revealed last week in the federal budget.

Are you wondering how the government’s plan will help your or your loved ones to access quality care? We’ve summarised the answers to the top 5 questions our community is asking.

I’m still on the waitlist for a Home Care Package (HCP). How will the reforms help me?

If you are one of the almost 100,000 people waiting for government-funded home support at their approved level, you’ll be happy to know that an additional 80,000 new Home Care Packages will be released over the next 2 years, in addition to the 30,000 already committed to by the Government by 30th June. The health minister, Greg Hunt said the extra funding budgeted for home care packages ($6.5 billion) would ensure the waiting list was cleared, and that people would be given the correct home care package according to their level of need.

The government also plans to provide support with accessing and navigating the aged care system, announcing an investment of $272.5 million in face-to-face support.

CEO of Prestige Inhome Care, Thea McCroary, welcomes these HCP reforms, saying “the Home Care Package setup process can be tricky and stressful for our clients to navigate. I’m excited to hear the government is committed to clearing the waiting list, so those 100,000 Aussies still awaiting a home care package can access the home support they urgently need.

We have recently expanded our Funded Programs team to ensure we continue to be fully equipped to assist all clients with the Home Care Package set up process and help them understand their options should they find themselves on the waiting list for an extended period of time.”

I already have a Home Care Package, what will the extra funding mean for me?

The $7.5 billion investment budgeted for home care coupled with the government’s commitment to design a new home care program means that seniors who choose to remain in their own homes should benefit across the board from care which better suits their needs.

Another clear plus is the extra funding which has been budgeted for the introduction of a nationally consistent worker screening, register and code of conduct for all aged care workers. These requirements will work to ensure high-quality, professional and compassionate care for Australians receiving home care and in residential care facilities.

My loved one is currently in a nursing home. Will this mean they’ll get better care?

Anyone with a relative in a residential aged care facility will be happy to know that in line with the reforms, aged care operators will receive an extra $10 a day per resident in the form of a basic daily fee supplement to support providers to deliver better care and services.

Nursing home residents will also be guaranteed a minimum of 200 minutes a day of care time due to a new mandate, including 40 minutes with a registered nurse. Additionally, $942 million will be invested in improving the safety and quality of care of residential care facilities. A new star rating of aged care services will also be introduced so that Australians can be better informed about the care their loved ones are receiving.

I work in the Aged Care Sector. How will I benefit?

Over the next ten years, 78,000 extra workers are needed to accommodate the country’s ageing population. $652.1 million has been allocated to create grow a skilled, professional and compassionate aged care workforce.

This will include additional financial support for eligible Registered Nurses with financial support of $3,700 for full time workers, and $2,700 for part time workers, nursing scholarships and places in the Aged Care Transition to Practice Program.

I am considering a career in the sector. Will the reforms help me?

In short, yes. The government will be taking steps to help increase the skilled and dedicated aged care workforce. The additional funding committed to growing and upskilling the aged care employees will provide training of 13,000 new home care workers.

How will Aged Care providers be held accountable moving forward?

The $698.3 million investment budgeted for improving governance of the sector aims to guarantee better care for senior Australians across the aged care sector through the creation of a National Aged Care Advisory Council, Council of Elders, and the appointment of an Inspector-General of Aged Care. There will also be a new Aged Care Act drafted to help set the reforms in stone by mid-2023. 

Senior Australians and their families and carers should see improved quality, safety, accessibility and equity of aged care services. Better governed providers will deliver better quality services.

McCroary agrees with the sentiments of some key members of the aged care sector who are claiming that some of the core issues of the Royal Commission haven’t been clearly addressed in the budget.

However she says “we’ve got to start somewhere. It’s great to see senior Australians’ needs are finally at the forefront and they are being given more control and choice over their care. I’m optimistic about the potential of these reforms to deliver generational change in aged care. As providers, if we all work together across the industry, we can turn this plan into a reality.

McCroary is also very pleased with the announcement that the NDIS will continue to be fully funded and see an additional $32 billion over four years.

“It’s heartening to see that a key focus will be keeping people out of facilities. This means more Australians will receive disability support and be in a better position to maintain their independence.”

At Prestige Inhome Care, we are looking forward to playing our role in supporting the government to deliver these reforms.

Do you or your loved one need a little help?

If you or your loved one are in need of support,  and would like to discuss the different care options available to you feel free to contact our Care Specialists team on 1300 10 30 10 or send us your query online.

Prestige Inhome Care is an award-winning Australian owned and operated in-home care provider that delivers class-leading in-home nursing and support services to enable individuals to live independently, and with dignity, in the comfort of their own home.