One in three older people who are still living at home say their needs are not being fully met, according to a report on government services.
The Productivity Commission report on the delivery of aged care services also indicates that fewer people are satisfied with the range and quality of services available to them compared to three years ago.
The report shows that in 2018, 34 per cent of older people living in households said their needs weren’t being met and almost 14 per cent said they didn’t leave their home, or didn’t get out as often as they’d like.
It found that 2018‑19 the wait time for a Home Care Package ranged from seven months for a level 1 package to almost three years (34 months) for a level 4 package.
The Productivity Commission also found that in 2018 only 71 per cent of people were satisfied with the range of services available to them, a decrease from three years ago.
Eighty four per cent were satisfied with the quality of assistance they were getting, down from 89 per cent in 2015.
This again demonstrates the need for the Government to make some clear commitments around wait times for home care – LASA Acting Chief Advocate Tim Hicks
The 2020 report on Government Services looked at the effectiveness, efficiency, cost, quality and timeliness of government services to the community, which amount to $247 billion of expenditure a year.
The government spent $20.1 billion on aged care in 2018-19, or $4,874 per person, with home care and home support accounted for $5.9 billion of the total figure.
There were 826,335 CHSP clients and 131,534 with home care packages, or around one in three older people. Some form of flexible care was available to almost 31,000.
Fewer primary carers satisfied with support
The proportion of primary carers who reported satisfaction with the range of support services available to them also fell.
In 2018, 36.1 per cent said they were satisfied, down 10 percentage points form 2015. Around seven in 10 were satisfied with the quality of care, down from almost 85 per cent in 2012.
Only 51.2 per cent of home care reviews scheduled for 2017-20 had been completed by last June, the report shows.
Productivity Commission says that the proportion of Australians aged 65 and over is expected to increase from 15 per cent in 2017 to as many as one in four in 2066.
Acting Chief Advocate for Leading Age Services Australia Tim Hicks said waiting time for a high level home care package was “totally unacceptable”.
“This again demonstrates the need for the Government to make some clear commitments around wait times for home care,” he told Community Care Review.
Aged and Community Services CEO Patricia Sparrow said the Productivity Commission figures highlighted the need for urgent reform.
Productivity Commission and Steering Committee chair Michael Brennan said there have been significant improvements in the delivery of government services covered in the report, but more remained to be done.
“Getting Policy right in these important service areas is critical, and this report provides important information for governments to learn from each other and consider where changes may be needed,” he said.
ACOSS also finds unmet demand
Meanwhile, another report by the Australian Council of Social Services published in December found significant unmet demand for community services, along with rising demand.
The report found less than half (46 per cent) of those working in the ageing and disability sector, including carers, were completely or mostly able to meet demand. Fourteen per cent said they were rarely or never able to meet demand.
Thirty-nine percent reported that demand had increased significantly, with half saying it had decreased.
The survey was completed by 1,454 community sector staff, including 406 organisational leaders, in October 2019.