Aged care reform: how far have we come in Australia?
With the ageing population continuing to grow in Australia, we have seen a considerable shift in the demand for healthcare services of the elderly.
To meet this need and ensure that we continue to provide world-class quality care to our ageing citizens, the aged care health reform has been set into motion.
The reform is to take place over a span of 10 years from 2012 to 2022. Already we are beginning to see changes in aged care as a result of the health reform.
What has already been achieved thus far?
Increased home support and care packages
Over recent years, there has been an increasing demand for elderly people to stay in their home independently for as long as possible. Naturally, some tasks are difficult for the elderly to complete and individuals remaining at home often require support.
The aged care reform has recognised this shift and has already increased the home care packages available to help people live independently at home.
These packages are available in four levels, from basic to high care needs, according to the requirements of different individuals. Consumer Directed Care (CDC) allows flexibility and the ability of the elderly to take control of how the services are delivered.
"My Aged Care" website launch
With all of the changes taking place to aged care in Australia, as well as those expected to occur over the coming years, it is important that elderly Australians are aware of these changes and how they affect them.
To address this issue, a website has been set up to describe the changes in simple terms that everyone can understand. The My Aged Care website presents the relevant information for both elderly people and their carers.
More affordable care
Adequate aged care can be considerably expensive and this is acknowledged by the healthcare reform, which has already put guidelines in place to ensure that all elderly people are able to access care.
Aged care homes are now required to list their fees upfront, with a clear breakdown of costs and the maximum amount an individual may pay. Additionally, the cost of aged care is now calculated with the consideration of a means test, which helps to ensure that everyone can afford the care they need.
Specific program expansion
There are also several programs that have already been expanded to allow greater access and benefit to the individuals involved. This includes:
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Flexible Care Program
- National Care Advocacy Program
- Community Visitors Scheme
- Nation Respite for Carers Program
- Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged Program
Thus far, we have made a great start as we set the aged care health reform into motion. Many more plans are set to take place over the coming years and it will be great to see them unfold into reality.