Home care queue continues to grow

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) says the latest data from the Government shows increasing numbers of older Australians assessed as needing care in their homes are not getting care at the level they require.


LASA CEO Sean Rooney said it was not good enough that at 31 March 2019, there were 129,038 elderly Australians waiting for a home care package at their approved level.


“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.


“While the Government has made a noteworthy commitment to release more home care packages, the number of packages being made available to older Australians is still inadequate,” Mr Rooney said.


More than 53,000 people in the home care queue had been offered an interim package at a lower level than that for which they had been approved, with wait times for a higher level package being more than 12 months after an approval date.


Among the remaining 75,000 people on the queue, most had been offered access to Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) services, with limited visibility at a national level on how the CHSP is assisting these people.


“LASA has received anecdotal advice from home care providers showing that CHSP services funded to provide entry level care are now at capacity.


“More work needs to be done in respect to advancing the integration of the home care package program and CHSP.


“These figures show that an increase in higher level home care packages is needed to ensure the supply of home care packages keeps pace with demand.


“The continuing shortfall in higher level home care packages is not only impacting on the care available to older Australians, but providers are also facing increased challenges to deliver appropriate services and manage risks associated with unmet care needs.


“There are also interim steps that the Government can take to mitigate the queue, including prioritising those with low means, making it easier for people to use home equity and recycling unspent funds."


25 June 2019.