Why are our loved ones waiting a year for home care?
The latest data on home care packages was released last week and the Federal Government has been quick to point to the figures – which include over 31,000 people approved for home care in the December quarter and over 50,000 home care packages released – as a good news story.
But the report underlines the real numbers.
Almost three in ten older Australians are waiting over 12 months to access the highest level four package – just under 28,000 people. Another 28,000 (27 per cent) had been waiting between six and 12 months.
In total, there are over 104,000 people on the national queue – over half (55 per cent) waiting for level four packages.
Of these, almost half (46 per cent) are sitting on a lower-level interim package while they wait for a higher package to become available – so they are not receiving the level of care that they need.
Waiting out the waiting list
This week we were contacted by a retirement village manager based in Sydney. Her mother was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and was approved for a Level 4 home care package in September last year. In the meantime, she was given a Level 2 package.
She sent us a letter detailing their experience – you can read it here.
This is just one story. There are over 100,000 people more on the list.
Last year the Government converted 6,000 lower-level packages to high care but it made little dent in the waiting list.
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has promised “further action” in the coming months, but we think the situation demands urgent attention now.
The letter writer tells us she has been in touch with her local member who has promised to raise the issue.
We would encourage everyone to do the same. If the Government wants us to stay at home as we age, they need to make it happen – without putting people through the ringer to get there.