Six more transition care places have been allocated to NSW’s Central Coast, bringing the total number of fully funded places in the region to 56.

According to the Commonwealth Government’s projections, this means that as many as 420 older people on the Central Coast will be able to use the service each year.

“Transition care places provide older Australians with the opportunity to recuperate and regain their independence after a major hospital stay,” said the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot. “This can avoid premature entry to a nursing home.”

Low level therapy services included in the transition care program include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics, podiatry, speech therapy, counseling and social work.

A national evaluation of the transition care program released about two months ago concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that the first 2,000 transition care places were allocated to areas of high need.

However the minister said the six new beds on the Central Coast were part of an initiative to increase the number of transition care places in “high growth areas”.

The government plans to have 4,000 transition care places operating by the end of the 2011-2012 financial year, enabling up to 30,000 older people to go through the program.

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