Aged Care: Government Pledges $537m to Sector


More than $500 million has been committed by the federal government towards three priority areas highlighted in the Aged Care Royal Commission’s Interim Report tabled last month.

A $537 million funding package to increase home care packages, reduce chemical restraints, and get younger people out of residential aged care was announced on Monday by prime minister Scott Morrison in response to the inquiry.

The three priority areas identified in the report, titled Neglect, was tabled in the Australian parliament last month, calling for a “fundamental overhaul” of Australia’s aged care system.

The additional 10,000 home care packages will be rolled out from 1 December this year, with the interim report having found the system as unable to cope with growing demand for home care services, and waiting times of up to 12 months or more.

“We can and must do better in providing improved support for our older Australians,” the prime minister said on Monday.

“Like every Australian, we were appalled by the revelations of the interim report, however we will do everything we can to build an aged care system of the highest quality.”

The funding breakdown:

  • Up to $496.3 million for an additional 10,000 home care packages.

  • $25.5 million to improve medication management programs to reduce the use of medication as a chemical restraint on aged care residents.

  • $10 million for additional dementia training and support for aged care workers.

  • And $4.7 million towards removing younger people with disabilities from residential aged care.

From 1 January stronger safeguards and restrictions will be put in place for the prescribing of repeat prescriptions of risperidone, after the Royal Commission found an over-reliance on chemical restraint used in the Australia's aged care sector.

The federal government also committed to stop people under the age of 65 entering residential aged care, with the target that no one under the age of 45 with live in residential aged care by 2022 and no one under the age of 65 will live in aged care by 2025.

Disturbing cases of elderly abuse in aged care services prompted the inquiry, which began in February this year.

The sector, one of the nation's fastest growing, provides services to more than 1.3 million Australians.

The Royal Commission’s final report is due 12 November 2020.

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