Elderly in NSW waiting up to 24 months for home care packages

CPSA has found that waiting times for a home care package can be as high as 24 months.

CPSA has spoken with a number of home care providers across metropolitan, regional and rural areas about waiting times for their home care packages. Only a fraction has any availability for the top level home care packages (level four), which provides between 10 and 15 hours of care per week.

More providers have level two packages available, which offer around four hours of care per week. But many of these packages are being used by people who need a level four package and are waiting for one to become available.

On the other hand, a lot of providers told CPSA that they had a bunch of level one packages available (which offer one or two hours of care per week) because they cannot find any clients willing to take them. The chief reason is because clients must pay a minimum of $68 per week for them, which is obviously poor value for money.

Older people needing that level of care would be better off getting Commonwealth Home Support services or paying for a private service.

There is a huge mismatch between need and packages on offer, resulting in many older people not getting sufficient care or ending up in nursing homes prematurely.

The Australian Government is putting more home care packages out into the community so that there will be 45 home care packages for every thousand people aged 75 and over.

However, this process won’t be finished until 2017/18.

Plus, even with this increase, it’s likely there will remain an oversupply of level one and two packages, which are cheaper to provide and not enough level three and four packages.

CPSA calls on the Australian Government to increase the number of level three and four packages to meet demand. There also needs to be reform of the level one and two packages because at the moment, they represent poor value for money.