Why not pay families to care?

I care for my mum who is 99 years of age. I was assessed and rejected for a carer’s payment. I only receive a carers allowance from the Government.

Yet my mum can get services from an aged care provider who charge us a fee of $95-110 for a home visit from a physio for (a visit of) under half hour, plus an administration fee of $300 to maintain my mum’s file. Continue reading

State and territory government policies and services

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Each of Australia’s states and territories has a number of policies and services for older and infirm citizens. Below are the links to a selection of official policies and services in each jurisdiction.

Queensland

New South Wales

Australian Capital Territory

Victoria

Tasmania

South Australia

Northern Territory

Western Australia

Conversation starter

Have you – or anyone you have cared for – experienced issues with State or Territory governments, either in relation to policies or services? What were the consequences of those policy or service issues? Were you able to resolve those issues? How were you supported through this process?

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Federal Government policies

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The Federal Government publishes a number of resources online that explain how aged care options, regulations and reforms are working.

These include:

Aged Care: A quick guide

‘Caring for the elderly’ – an overview of aged care support and services in Australia

Guides and policies

Aged care reform

Legislation

Conversation starter

How easy have you or someone for whom you care found navigating your way through aged care options? Did you have good access to sources of timely information and advice? Have you or someone for whom you care advocated for change as part of the Federal Government’s aged care reform process? What were your experiences?

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Aged care quality indicators

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The Federal Government Department of Health, through its Ageing and Aged Care unit, has established the National Aged Care Quality Indicator Program with three initial quality indicators for residential aged care. These look at performance around:

  • pressure injuries
  • use of physical restraint
  • unplanned weight loss.

To be – and remain – an accredited provider, aged care facilities must meet benchmarks across four standards:

  • Management systems, staffing and organisational development
  • Health and personal care
  • Care recipient lifestyle
  • Physical environment and safe systems.

On the other hand, care provided in a person’s home or in the community is measured against three standards:

  • Effective management
  • Appropriate access and service delivery
  • Service user rights and responsibilities.

In addition, there are two flexible aged care program standards for Indigenous elders:

  • Care delivery and information
  • Management and accountability.

However, after reviewing the sector’s quality indicators, The University of Sydney and UNSW researchers have called for a review of aged care policy and the establishment of a “robust and comprehensive” aged care quality data system.

Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda, they cautioned that understanding the connections between clinical indicators, the care needs of a facility’s residents, and the perceptions of clients and staff were “crucial”, having demonstrated a complex relationship among these factors in their analysis.

They reviewed data collected from 426 facilities between 2015 and 2016 covering five commonly gathered clinical indicators of care quality: falls, pressure injury, physical restraint, unplanned weight loss and polypharmacy. Only the last factor was regularly reported.

Conversation starter

Do you – or someone for whom you care – feel that the Federal Government’s aged care quality indicators already in place are sufficient to achieve a “robust and comprehensive” assessment of residential, in-home or community care? 

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NDIS for younger people in aged care

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Governments have said they will spend an extra $11 billion a year on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

But many people under the age of 65 years residing in aged care facilities may miss out on receiving support due to communication barriers, a lack of access to information, little or no assistance to navigate the process plus a diminished understanding of their own functional and health needs.

In this Australian Ageing Agenda web article, an NDIS expert with inside knowledge – who now works away from the agency – is calling on aged care providers to ensure younger residents are connected to the NDIS and receive the financial and personal support they require.

Conversation starter

Have you – or someone for whom you care – had difficulty navigating the requirements of the NDIS? Were you able to receive advice and assistance that progressed the application being made? What was the outcome? Were there any delays? 

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Policy areas

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There is a wide range of policies relating to the care of older and infirm Australians receiving services in aged care facilities and in their own homes.

Additionally, older and infirm Australians who are under the age of 65 years may be eligible, following assessment, for support via the National Disability Insurance Scheme .

Public, private and not-for-profit residential aged care facilities must meet a standard set of quality indicators for the services they provide.

While the Federal Government is centrally responsible for setting national aged care policy and procedures, all states and territories assist older and infirm citizens and their families and carers to identify their care options.

Conversation starter

Have you – or someone you have cared for – found change is needed in policy relating to either residential or in-home care? Is that change critical at the national, state or regional level? Or is the change more urgent at truly local level, i.e., in an aged care facility or in your immediate community?

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