Elderly will still be left to die under Budget
Elderly Australians living in their own homes will get access to an extra 23,000 home care packages under a $2 billion aged care boost.
The packages will start to be released from this year and build on previous increases that will see a total number of home care packages grow to 185,597 by June next year.
"This continues our support for senior Australians who seek to live in their homes for longer' Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
The government is under serious pressure over its handling of aged care and the new places, which while welcome, amount to just a third of the 66,000 places aged care advocates were expecting in the budget.
The extra funding will make only a small dent in the waiting list for home care which tops 100,000 people.
A peak seniors group said it was "deeply disappointed" after the Budget failed to address the problem at the heart of the aged care system.
"The Royal Commission heard that 30,000 people either died waiting for a package or going into aged care unnecessarily because they couldn't be kept in their home. So this is really not addressing the problem," National Seniors Australia chief advocate Ian Henschke said.
Mr Henschke said he hoped the next budget would fix the problem, especially the issue of ballooning home care waiting lists.
"There are 100,000 Australians waiting for home care and the government has provided 23,000 places over four years, so it's barely addressing the need ... I'm deeply disappointed."
Five thousand of the packages will be basic level 1 plans, there will be 8,000 extra level 2 places, 8,000 level 3 places and only 2,000 level 4 places which provide $52,000 worth of support.
More of these higher level places are needed to keep older Australians from moving into nursing homes.
"The vulnerability of our aged population has been horribly exposed by COVID, demonstrating a relentless driving down of standards in aged care," Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid said.
"Aged care needs a substantial investment, including minimum staff-to-resident ratios that reflect the level of care required and ensure 24-hour, on-site availability of registered nurses," he said.
A News Corp investigation, Aged Care 360, recently exposed how poor oversight of the aged care sector meant residents of nursing homes were receiving as little as three hours care per day, some homes had no nurses on site and residents were being fed for just $7 a day.
The government announced it would fund an extra 43 investigators to check out and crack down on sub- standard nursing homes.
More than 100 aged care residents a week are being raped, murdered and assaulted and the budget will see $30 million spent on computer programs to improve reporting of these serious incidents by aged care homes.
"A Serious Incident Response Scheme will provide more 'boots on the ground' staff - nearly 70 extra staff - to regulate the scheme, inspect services and provide safeguards for people in aged care," Mr Hunt said.
The misuse of chemical and physical restraints for people living with dementia will be targeted, the government said.
There will also be more specialist counselling teams available to provide expert psychosocial services, including face-to-face and by video and telephone under an $11.3 million initiative.
Younger people with a disability will be given other options than living in an aged care facility if they require high level care that cannot be provided in their own home.
A new national organisation, supported by up to 40 system co-ordinators, will connect young people to more age-appropriate facilities under a $10.6 million budget initiative.
The government will also spend over $90 million to transition nursing homes residents over to a new funding system.
More than 3,600 Australians with a disability who are aged over 65 were cut out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the budget included $125 million to provide disability support services and accommodation to them.
An Aged Care Workforce Council will help build an aged care workforce with better skills and there is $10.8 million to train aged care nurses.
Originally published as Elderly will still be left to die under Budget