Growing numbers of elderly Australians waiting for a Home Care Package

Home Care Packages (HCP) are government-funded subsidies available for senior Australians to receive In-Home Care and Support. This package can fund a variety of services at home including meal services, gardening, nursing, basic personal care etc.

More details about Home Care Packages can be found here.

How to access home care packages

Unfortunately, obtaining a Home Care Package is not that easy. Along with going through an assessment and waiting for approval, there is a national prioritization queue with more and more seniors waiting to be assigned a Home Care Package every year.

According to a recent data report from the Department of Health, there are now 77,918 people receiving care at home through a home care package. More importantly, however, the report shows that as of March 31st 2018, there were 108,456 people waiting to receive their assigned package. This is an increase from the 104, 602 people in the queue on December 31st 2017.

home care packages

Of those on the waiting list, 54,821 of individuals in the queue have been assigned a lower-level package than they have been approved to receive. More significantly, 53,635 people are not yet assigned to a home care package.

Although some on the queue are receiving temporary assistance either privately or through Commonwealth Health Support, most of the time they are being looked after by a spouse or family member or friend. This can place additional pressure on the caregiver over time and may increase chances of hospitalization or declined health in the one receiving support.  Keeping in mind that waiting times for a high-level package can be up to a year or more!

Many older Australians and their families are finding it difficult to cope with these waiting times. Among them is an elderly man from Wollongong, New South Wales. In an article in the Illawarra Mercury (8 Aug 2018), we read about Dr Michael Newth who has been struggling with a brain tumour leaving him bedridden and partly paralysed.  He has been assessed as needing high-level of support as he is fully dependent for all his daily care (Level 4 package). Whilst he is waiting for his package, his elderly spouse is forced to provide all Michael’s care herself day and night.

Len Schoof, Managing Director of Platinum Healthcare, says that they hear on a weekly basis from families who have a loved one waiting for a home care package. “Meanwhile, people are suffering because they are not getting the care they need and additional pressures are placed on families and neighbours to fill the gaps.”

Says Len, "Our elderly deserve better. Minister Ken Wyatt and the government need to respond to this latest report with positive steps that show our elderly are valued."

What has been your experience in obtaining a Home Care Package?

P.S.  Setting up your home care package can be a time consuming and confusing process but it doesn’t need to be. Let us handle the paperwork and guide you. We make it easy for you so you can continue doing the things you love.


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