Blow out in waiting list for seniors residential aged care in SA

MEDIAN waiting time for a residential aged care places in South Australia has blown out from 45 days three years ago to 75 days, well above the national median wait of 68 days.


The situation has prompted a new campaign by an alliance of 48 aged care groups urging electioneering politicians to end the ‘aged care lottery’.

The Australians Deserve to Age Well campaign —— cites Productivity Commission data showing in South Australia in 2014/15, 42 per cent of older

people needing residential aged care waited more than three months for a place, up from 31 per cent in 2011/12.

Waiting times for home care packages have also blown out.

For people in South Australia needing a high level of aged care, 33 per cent wait more than three months.

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The State Government has blamed bed blockages in aged care as a reason for chronic overcrowding at public hospitals, as older people who could be discharged wait for an aged care bed.

COTA Australia chief executive Ian Yates said a system that assesses an older person as needing care but then makes them wait months before they receive it is a system ‘that is failing senior Australians and their families.’

“It is true there have been some steps in the right direction in aged care in recent years, but the fact is waiting lists are blowing out and more needs to be done,” he said.

“We are calling on all political parties in the 2016 federal election to commit to a timetable to end the aged care lottery.”

Aged and Community Services Australia president Paul Sadler said the system was a lottery because it was not based on demand but an arbitrary number of places per 1000 people over 70.

“There is a cap on delivery of services, no matter how urgently people need them,” Mr Sadler said.

“If you are 82 years old and assessed as needing a high level of care it’s unfathomable that the system makes our most vulnerable in South Australia wait 73 days or more for it.”

Federal secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Lee Thomas said older people in South Australia deserved better.

“All political parties need to step up and provide some assurance to older Australians that they do count this election,” she said.



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