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$320m funding boost for residential care


The Federal Government has announced residential aged care will receive an additional $320 million as part of its new $662 million package to support older Australians.

Ken Wyatt talks to residents at The Village Baxter after announcing new funds (pic: twitter)

The funding will equate to an additional $1,800 per resident and will be provided over the next 18-months to support the delivery of quality care services, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Of the $662 million, $4.2 million will go towards a national aged care quality indicator program and $4.6 million towards replacing the Aged Care Funding Instrument with a trial of a new residential care funding tool.

“We need to have a culture of respect and care and that’s why I announced the Royal Commission into Aged Care. It’s why as Prime Minister and Treasurer I have delivered thousands of additional home care places,” Mr Morrison said.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt used the announcement to defend the government’s aged care funding.

“Aged care funding is increasing by about $1 billion each year,” he said.

The government also announced it would invest an additional $282.4 million for 10,000 home care packages and $7.7 million to enhance the safety, quality and integrity of home care.

Home care supplements for dementia and cognition for veterans will be increased by $35.7 million and $7.4 million towards a business advisory service for both residential and home care providers to improve operations (read more here).

Aged care and consumer peak bodies Aged and Community Services Australia, Leading Age Services Australia and COTA Australia all welcomed the additional funding.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney

Sean Rooney

ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow said it will help providers support their residents.

“The $320 million boost for residential aged care also provides much needed support for older Australians and the providers who are caring for them. This is an immediate one-off payment while the trial of a new funding model.” Ms Sparrow said.

“We all want to get residential care funding right to be able to meet the growing demand and complexity of resident needs,” she said.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the funding boost is a welcome short-term measure, however the announcement of the trial funding tool acknowledges ACFI as an inadequate approach.

“It is the core funding arrangements for the sector, and how the funding tool is able to respond to the true cost of care, that has been our biggest ongoing concern,” Mr Rooney said.

He said the trial should also include research on staffing models to better understand what will best meet the growing and changing needs of older Australians accessing residential care.

Pat Sparrow

COTA Australia CEO Ian Yates said there are concerns that the government has not tied the $320 million extra in funding to better staffing.

“It is disappointing there are no conditions attached to require providers to use the additional funding to increase staff numbers and/or support workforce training and development programs that will lift the standard of care in Australian nursing homes,” Mr Yates said.

The additional funding was announced yesterday ahead of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety holds its first hearing calling witnesses in Adelaide today.

Consumer peak body COTA Australia CEO Ian Yates and National Seniors CEO Professor John MacCallum are among the first to give evidence from the perspective of aged care recipients at the hearing today (read our story here).

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4 Responses to $320m funding boost for residential care

  1. anton February 12, 2019 at 1:42 pm #

    Stop thanking the Government for throwing a pittance at residential care. $1800 per resident increase over 18 months, $100 per month increase will get you less than one hour per week of assistant nurse care or 8.5 minutes per day! Not even a band aid !

    I would like to however thank the CEO of COTA for his comments and despite the Commission saying they werent interested in the funding crisis it seems they will struggle to ignore it, so thankyou.

  2. Megan Tait February 13, 2019 at 1:36 pm #

    Oh No , please not again waste , waste, of money and has anyone noticed whilst the aged care sector and the previous millions spent on a multitude of enquiries , recommendations reports ( ie The Tune Report – of which nothing has ever been followed up ) have largely been ignored ….. Now Guess what? we have a Royal Commission right now and ironically enough we are having an election.
    Please don’t waste money on the ACFI again -because this tool merely substantiates funding that our older citizens never get …. its all paperwork and has no refection on the real needs of the aged . Which is people power , yes staff on the ground providing care , comfort , reassurance , kindness , expert clinical care etc etc. There will be no significant change in aged are until we have resident ratios so please stop the waste and invest in better career structures -Make AGED CARE GREAT , a place where you would lov eto work and a place to grow old in with dignity and respect not fear and neglect .

  3. Donald (Don) Pember February 13, 2019 at 2:16 pm #

    Consumer Directed Care in Residential Care would certainly highlight what the elder should be receiving compared with what they are being provided. I bet the elder receives less than a half of the ACFI amount. All the funds are soent on the bureaucracy and not enough at the elder level

  4. Val Fell February 13, 2019 at 5:03 pm #

    I have just attended a Dementia Carers Support Group and their main concern is the lack of trained staff in nursing homes. There must be a culture of Caring -staff who want to be there -,want time spend with residents helping them to have an improved quality of life-have training relevant to their particular position- know how to operate using positive principles of care and are properly remunerated. This means clinicians and allied health professionals ie.
    occupational/diversonal therapists /physiotherapists etc.

    Some of the horror stories we have heard recently through the commission and local incidents may have been avoided if proper care and supervision had been available.

    There is still one major gap in all the conversations and funding announcements about the workforce-everything is centred on the paid workforce. BUT the biggest section of the Aged Care Workforce is that of the INFORMAL carer in the home. It is expected that people working in nursing homes and providers of in -home care will be trained to carry out their duties over an average 8 hour shift- but what about the education of the Informal carers who are caring on a 24/7 basis.. They want to know “how to cope”. “what strategies to use in difficult circumstances” “”how to deal with the tremendous amount of paperwork involved in just getting a place for either respite or permanent residential care.”
    This brings us to another point – funding for residential respite care should be contingent on facilities providing a reasonable number of beds in that category. If people want /need to stay home longer then respite is essential for the carer-this is particularly so. in the case of caring for a person with dementia. These factors must be considered in future planning-after all 70% of the aged care cohort needing care are cared for at home.

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