New approach needed to ensure enough aged care

A Catholic Health Australia (CHA) analysis has found that thousands of new places will be created in residential and community aged care under changes proposed by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC).

The Commission's interim report proposes that places be allocated based on the number of Australians aged over 85, to better reflect the age of those who actually use aged care. Currently places are calculated on the number of people aged 70 and over.

"Our analysis shows that switching to the new recommended formula would increase the number of care places available for frail older Australians by 241 per cent over the next 30 years," CHA Chief Executive Martin Laverty said.

"If the Government sticks to the current formula that number will rise by only 153 per cent.

"Australia's elderly population is expected to double over the next 20 years. Clearly the new formula is much more appropriate for meeting the coming rise in demand for aged care places.

"If this change is not made, many more people will have to live in hospitals instead of aged care facilities, or stay in their homes without adequate support."

With a total of 550 aged care services, CHA represents Australia's largest single grouping of residential and community aged care facilities.

"Consumers will be delighted if the Government adopts the NHHRC's recommended allocation formula," Mr Laverty said.

"Quality aged care must be made available for every Australian who needs it.

"We also support the Commission's view that the current aged care funding arrangements need to change to enable services to stay viable, to provide greater choice to consumers on how and where their care is delivered, and to take pressure off hospitals.

"We look forward to working with Government on these reforms, to ensure Australia can meet the need for aged care services over the next 30 years and beyond."

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