The federal government has announced an additional 10,000 home care packages as part of a $662 million commitment to aged care.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said home care packages across all levels would be funded by a $282.4 million injection and $7.7 million would “enhance the safety, quality and integrity” of home care.
Home care supplements for dementia, cognition and veterans will be increased by $35.7 million and $7.4 million will go towards a business advisory service for residential and home care.
Ken Wyatt said the figure builds on a $552 million commitment in the government’s budget outlook last December which included 10,000 new high-care home care packages.
He said the funds would help older Australians live independently.
“This is about more choices for a longer life – giving older Australians more aged care options and the capacity to live independently for as long as possible.”
“In the past year we have announced 40,000 new home care packages and $115 million to grow the Commonwealth Home Support Program,” he said.
Industry body ACSA welcomed the announcement.
“In particular, the 10,000 new home care packages will provide relief to thousands of older Australians and their families, keep people independent for longer and provide the kind of flexible care that allows people to remain part of their community,” CEO Pat Sparrow said in a statement.
“Increasing the home care dementia and veterans’ supplements will also assist in providing support to people on packages who face additional challenges.”
COTA’s Ian Yates said bringing forward funding for the extra home care packages and increasing dementia supplements by 15 per cent was a significant step forward.
“While more packages are needed to achieve our target of a maximum three months wait, this is another significant step forward that will have a real impact on waiting times for people who need support and care to stay at home safely,” he said in a statement.
“Often remaining at home is the best option for people with dementia, who do much better in familiar surrounds, but they need that extra level of support to be able to stay at home safely.”
National Seniors CEO Professor John McCallum said a new funding model for aged care was needed and said sufficient funding had to be included in the April Budget.
“We welcome the additional $280 million for home care packages announced yesterday along with another $320 million for residential aged care, but the government has to stop the drip-feeding of funding,” he said.
The announcement came on the eve of the first appearance by witnesses before the Royal Commission Aged Care Quality and Safety.