Aged Care Reforms
The 1st July 2012 marks the start of the Gillard Government’s 10 year plan to reshape aged care. The initiative aims to keep people in their homes for longer, delivering more choice, better care and easier access for older Australians.
Living Longer Living Better
The $3.7 billion ‘Living Longer Living Better’ plan will:
- Almost double the number of home care packages, meaning less waiting time for people needing care
- Cap aged care costs to no more than $25 000 a year and $60 000 a lifetime
- Allow families a ‘cooling-off’ period after making major decisions
- New funding for dementia care
- Provide tailored care packages for those using home care services
- Provide more payment options, either lump sum or periodic payment (or both)
- Provide support to ensure homes in regional, rural and remote Australia are acceptable and that people with the greatest need, like Indigenous Australians and the homeless, have priority care
The payment system will also be reformed to equally benefit all persons. Currently as there is no distinction between the income level of individuals, pensioners are technically subsidizing the accommodation of millionaires. The new means test will be implemented from July 2014, but will exclude the family home as an asset. Also, the amount payable for aged care services will be capped, based on a capacity to pay scale and means testing.
The Government is Aiming to:
- Increase residential aged care places by over 30 000
- Provide more funding for dementia care in aged care
- Set stricter standards for aged care services
- Establish a single gateway to all aged care services making them easier to navigate and access
- Fund $1.2 billion to improve the aged care workforce
The reforms come in response to the complaints lodged to the aged care system and will enable Australians to remain living in their homes for as long as practical, and keep their homes as well.
Aged Care Investments:
- $1.9 billion to deliver better access to aged care services.
- $1.2 billion to tackle critical shortages in the aged care workforce: To attract, retain and train aged care workers and ensure they receive competitive wages.
- $80.2 million to improve aged care linkages with the health system: establishing the ‘My Aged Care’ website and national call centre, and building an online information and assessment point.
- $54.8 million to support carers.
- $268.4 million to tackle the nation’s dementia epidemic: by 2050 over one million Australians will have dementia. Support will be boosted for primary health care providers to undertake a quicker diagnosis of dementia, and focus strongly on younger onset dementia. A supplement will provide financial help for people receiving Home Care packages and in residential care.
- $192 million to support the diverse care of Australia’s aging population.
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