Most miss out on home care packages in ACAR

Almost 80 per cent of applications for home care packages in the latest Aged Care Approvals Round were unsuccessful, indicating that providers are keen to meet consumer demand but funding is falling far short.


State and funding breakdown for the 2012-13 Aged Care Approvals Round. Source: Department of Health and Ageing

If your organisation has missed out on getting a home care package in the 2012-13 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) announced, it isn’t alone as 18 applications were received for every package available, according to the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA).

A total of 13,610 new aged care places with an estimated annual recurrent funding worth $505 million have been allocated across Australia in the latest ACAR, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Senator Jacinta Collins announced on Friday.

New South Wales received both the most residential places and home care packages while no new residential bed licences were allocated to the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory received no new home packages. See the table above for state and funding breakdowns.

The new places include 7,775 residential bed licences comprising 5,247 high care and 2,528 low care places, which is 566 places fewer than the 8,341 places originally advertised, plus 5,835 Home Care Packages, and builds on the 248,890 places currently in operation.

DoHA reported it received in excess of 106,000 new home care applications resulting in a number of otherwise good applications being unsuccessful in getting new packages this round.

The competitive assessment process allocates aged care places to applicants who best demonstrate they can meet the needs of the ageing population within a specified planning region, it said.

Older Australians missing out

Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty (pictured) said while the ACAR could be interpreted as a vote of confidence by the aged care community in the new consumer-directed care model, it showed that many older Australians wishing to receive care in their own homes would continue to miss out.

“For every package that was allocated, there were 18 applications, showing how providers are reading the signs of the times and trying to respond to older Australians’ wishes,” Mr Laverty said.

“The legislation passed in the Parliament recently will help to address this disconnect, but that transition will take too long – in the eyes of both consumers and providers.

“The holding pattern that sees older Australians wanting to stay in their own home to receive care, but not able to, will continue for some years yet,” he said.

Aged and Community Services Australia CEO Adjunct Professor John Kelly agreed the push toward home care is the likely cause of so many applications for packages from aged care providers trying to diversify their service model.

“There’s frustration in that a lot of people who want to take up community packages can’t because there’s not enough funding,” Prof Kelly said.

Elsewhere in the announcement, the 2012-13 ACAR allocation includes 461 deferred residential aged care licences and 192 deferred home care packages nationally, as at 5 July 2013.

A further $156 million in zero real interest loans will be offered to providers to build 986 new residential aged care places and make 257 provisionally allocated places operational plus $51 million in capital grants to assist providers build new, or improve existing residential services.

The 2012 Extra Service Approvals Round Extra was also announced on Friday and sees Service status approved for 1,288 residential aged care places, 1057 of which are high care and 231 are low care.

Lack of funding overall

Overall, the ACAR allocation has highlighted the complexity in which the issues of reform need to be considered including the unmet demand of aged care beds, Prof Kelly said.

“Our estimates show that nationally there are probably 6000 residential aged care places undersubscribed. Those are mainly in Western Australia, Queensland then Tasmania,” he said. “It is by far most prominent in WA.”

It accounts for about $2 billion in capital expenditure that needs to be found from somewhere else, he said.

This coupled with the two years before the RAD/DAP changes come in and the time following required to see how consumers deal with paying for residential care, has created an uncertain platform for capital planning, Prof Kelly said.

While the reform package is going some way to addressing problems in the sector it is still not looking at the chronic underfunding in the industry, he said.

“The Government will have to understand the way the demographic is changing, it may well be there has to be a fresh injection of funds in this sector even if it has to come from somewhere else,” Prof Kelly said.

Find out more about the latest ACAR allocation here: 2012-13 Aged Care Approvals Round


Tags: acar, funding-round, home-care-packages, john-kelly, martin-laverty,

1 thought on “Most miss out on home care packages in ACAR

  1. So disappointing to see so many high care people wanting to stay at home and being stopped from doing so by the lack of EACH packages available. Frsutrating fror a Case Manager to know it is possible but not be able to offer the solution.

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