My Aged Care revamp and additional 6,000 home care packages for Aussies

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Elderly people dancing
Elderly people dance during Saint Valentine's Day celebrations at the Canevaro old people's home in Lima February 14, 2012. Reuters/Mariana Bazo

The government has increased its support for older Aussies with an additional 6,000 home care packages. It would allow them access to their needs while staying in the comfort of their own homes.

Support for aged care consumers will be streamlined through a $20 million investment in the My Aged Care information system. This means better public access, especially for rural, regional and remote areas.

The Legislated Review of Aged Care 2017 examined the effectiveness of the aged care reforms enacted by the Labor government. The review, required under legislation, is consisted of 38 recommendations for future aged care provision.

The Turnbull government welcomes the report and will reportedly consider some recommendations. “The Government’s robust work on aged care reform will ensure that the people who built this nation have the aged care support and services they need, when and where they need it,” a joint media release by Health Minister Greg Hunt and Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt reads. The press release also states it is focused on maintaining a high-quality, people-centred aged care system so older Australians will have choice and control of their care.

In 2017-18, the Turnbull government allocated $18.6 billion for aged care, the initial part of a $100 billion investment in aged care support for the next five years. The Commonwealth Home Support Program will be extended until 2020 to provide services like transport, personal assistance, Meals On Wheels and home maintenance. The support also includes $2 million for an industry led taskforce to form an aged care workforce strategy.

National public consultation program

Meanwhile, a national public consultation program has started to optimise care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer. Wyatt said the Optimal Care Pathway (OCP) for people with cancer intends to improve cancer outcomes.

“The pathway will provide an important guide to ensure the best treatment for our people, through culturally sensitive, patient-centred care,” the minister said. He urged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak health bodies, associations and health professionals and community and consumer organisations to share input into the draft OCP.

Wyatt said the pathway will ultimately provide health administrators and clinicians with a nation-wide approach to cancer care. Cancer Australia, with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Cancer Council Victoria have developed the OCP. The national public consultation is slated to close next month.

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