The conversations of life

Home care reforms deliver on promise of choice – but we need more support


A new survey has shown nearly 60 per cent of older Australians receiving home care packages left their current provider in the two months following the Government’s home care reforms – an early sign that consumers are taking advantage of the opportunity to find a better deal.

Under the Consumer Directed Care (CDC) changes introduced on February 27, home care packages are now allocated to consumers rather than aged care providers.

This is great news for those of us who want to stay in our homes longer. You can shop around for a new provider or negotiate a new arrangement with your current one.

The survey by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), which looked at 10 per cent of providers, found almost 43 per cent of clients had moved to a higher package while another 33 per cent had gone to a different provider.

But the research also found many recipients are still struggling to use their packages. Why?

More assistance needed

The new system puts you in the driver’s seat – but it relies on users being able to do their own research and having enough information to activate their packages.

Consumers are given a 40-page booklet to research providers and work out costs themselves using MyAgedCare’s online directory. If you don’t have a computer or Internet, you can also call MyAgedCare for information.

Under the new reforms, providers won’t contact you to help – unless you actively seek them out.

LASA wants the Government to set up liaison support for people who need assistance with the changes.

We think it’s a smart idea – after all, there’s no point having more choice if we can’t use it. If the Government wants to keep us out of residential aged care, they need to make it happen.

A practising aged care physiotherapist for the past 13 years, Jill has worked in more than 50 metropolitan and regional aged care homes. She has also toured care facilities across the US and Africa. She is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff that serve them.

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