A group of aged care physiotherapists and occupational therapists have launched a campaign calling for allied health to be included in the new residential aged care funding model.
The Death of Aged Care campaign, which launched on Friday, aims to raise awareness about the importance allied health services for aged care residents.
It is calling on Australians to write to aged care minister Greg Hunt and their local Member of Parliament about the need to include allied health in the Australian National Aged Care Classification, which replaces the Aged Care Funding Instrument from October 2022.
The campaign has been started by aged care physiotherapist Alwyn Blayse with the support of iPHYSIO founder Abdul Chatlia, physiotherapist Owen Allen and CQUniversity occupational therapy lecturer and occupational therapist Desley Simpson.
Mr Blayse said they launched the campaign because the government has failed to respond to repeated calls from stakeholders to include allied health in the AN-ACC.
“I haven’t seen any government response to industry calls and individuals who have kept saying this is a terrible thing that the government’s announced,” Mr Blayse told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“It’s getting too late now; that deadline [of October 2022] is just getting too close to keep having meetings and press releases,” said Mr Blayse, CEO of allied health company Allied Aged Care.
If it is not included and funded, aged care residents will miss out on allied health services, he said.
“I’m being not critical of nursing homes, they’re in financial difficulty. They won’t spend something if they don’t have to, even if they care about their clients,” Mr Blayse said.
“We work at a lot of very good nursing homes that do care about their clients; they would love to have allied health in there but they can’t afford to fund that. They’re going to be using any extra money that they’re getting from the AN-ACC on nursing care and other things.
“We’re considered a luxury. We shouldn’t be. We are an essential service. But unfortunately, that’s the way that will pan out,” he said.
The AN-ACC was developed by the University of Wollongong’s Australian Health Services Research Institute as part of the Resource Utilisation and Classification Study in 2019.
The Department of Health appointed La Trobe University in February to undertake shadow assessments of all residents using the AN-ACC, a process expected to take 12 months from 1 April.
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