New aged care reforms to give the elderly greater choice

New aged care reforms to give the elderly greater choice

OLDER Australians will have greater choice and control of their aged care when new government reforms are introduced on February 27.

The ‘Increasing Choice in Home Care’ reforms will see home-care funding allocated to the consumer instead of service providers.

The move would allow elderly people the power to choose their own care provider and would also make it easier if they want to change their care provider should they, for instance, move to a new area.

Stephanie Buckland, CEO of Amana Living, one of WA’s largest not-for-profit aged care providers, said her organisation welcomed the changes.

“The reforms give older people greater choice and control over their home care, making it a much more flexible and fair system,” Ms Buckland said.

“Previously they would have been offered a home care package by an approved provider, and wouldn’t have been able to change the provider without losing unspent funds.

“It’s an important step forward in helping older people and their families take a greater role in managing their own health and wellbeing, supported by a provider who is best suited to their lifestyle and needs.

“We know that more people want to remain living independently at home for longer and these reforms support this goal.”

As part of the reforms, a new national prioritisation process is also being introduced.

All eligible consumers will go into a national queue via My Aged Care, and will receive home care packages based on need and how long they have been waiting.

“Currently home care packages are allocated to approved providers based on location and it is the providers who decide when a consumer will be offered a package,” Ms Buckland said.

“Under the new approach, packages will be allocated directly to consumers based on need and priority.”