Recently, the first ever data relating to unmet demand for home care packages in Australia was released. The data showed that close to 90,000 senior people in Australia who have been approved for a home care package have not been able to access the care that they require. The report was released by the Department of Health.
In a breakdown of figures, the report showed that in June of this year there were 53,000 people who were waiting to be assigned a home care package. There were also 35,000 people who were being forced to manage on a lower level package because they were still waiting on their proper level of care to be assigned to them. In total, according to the Department of Health report, 67,000 senior Australians were waiting on a level 3 or 4 package at that time.
A long wait ahead
Following the release of the report, the government stated that consumers who had been approved for a home care package could be waiting a long time. This was due to the rising demand for these packages, with consumers told to expect a maximum waiting time of more than twelve months.
The national prioritisation system in Australia was brought in earlier in the year, in February. For the first time since its launch, consumers are being given the ability to check on their expected waiting times in increments of three months by going online to look at their client records or by calling the contact centre at My Aged Care.
A spokesperson from COTA Australia said that the huge demand for these packages had not been expected and that this had caused unexpected delays when it came to being assigned the right level of care. He said that there was a shortfall in the number of packages available and that the pressure that this would put on individuals and their families could not be sustained.
More high-level home care packages to be released
A statement was also released by Ken Wyatt, the Minister for Aged Care. He said that as a result of the increased demand for higher level home care, six thousand further high-level packages would be released during this financial year in a bid to ease the pressure.
He added that the plan was to convert low-level packages that had not been used up into high-level ones, which would make the release of more packages more feasible and cost-effective for the government.