Home care queue lengthens even more

Data released by the government shows that the national home care queue has grown to 127,748 of older Australians assessed as needing care in their homes but not able to get it at their assessed level of need.


Leading Age Services Australia’s (LASA) is calling for legislated maximum wait times as part of the its recently launched ‘I Care for Aged Care’ election campaign.


LASA CEO Sean Rooney says soon to be released survey data from LASA also shows that maximum wait times are often much longer than even the 12 months stated in the Government report.


“LASA’s data also suggests that even those on interim packages often pass away or enter hospital or residential care before receiving the package that they were assessed to need,” he said.


This reinforces a study by the Registry of Older South Australians published last year which found that, compared to people who waited a month or less for a home care package, people who waited more than six months to receive care at home had an almost 20 per cent increased risk of dying in the two years after receiving their Home Care Package.


“Recent announcements by Government to increase or bring forward the release of new packages are helpful, but they still leave too many people waiting far too long with no certainty that they will ever receive the care they need,” Mr Rooney said.


“In commenting on this data it is important to acknowledge the Government’s commitment to transparency by making information on the queue available.


“LASA’s call to set a maximum wait time for a home care package of no more than three months will better enable older Australians to age-well in their homes, close to their families and friends. This is a key part of the reason that LASA is urging all aged care providers, staff, clients and family members to say to their local candidates ahead of the upcoming election, “I Care for Aged Care.’”


Mr Rooney said LASA welcomes the fact that the upcoming hearings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will focus on home care.


See the Government's “Home care packages program data report 1 October – 31 December 2018” at https://www.gen-agedcaredata.gov.au/Resources/Reports-and-publications/2019/March/Home-care-packages-program-data-report-1-October-%E2%80%93


14 March 2019.