Aged care groups fear funding cuts will lead to huge wait times
Waiting times for aged care have blown out in WA amid concerns looming funding cuts will make it harder for the chronically sick to get places.
The aged care industry has released Productivity Commission figures showing 44 per cent of those needing residential care in WA waited more than three months for a place last financial year, compared with 35 per cent three years ago. On average, people waited 76 days for a permanent place in WA, above the national average of 68 days.
Aged-care resident Alison Armstead. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian
One-third of people needing home-care packages waited more than three months, up from 20 per cent in 2011-12.
The delays prompted the campaign Australians Deserve to Age Well by 48 aged care groups.
Aged and Community Services Australia president Paul Sadler said the “aged care lottery” was not based on need.
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“If you are 82 years old and needing a high level of care, it’s unfathomable that the system makes our most vulnerable in WA wait 76 days or more,” he said.
A separate campaign by providers including Catholic Homes and Baptistcare is fighting a new funding model which they claim will strip $1.2 billion from aged care.
They estimate that from January 1 they will be paid $16 a day, down from $66, to care for people with complex health conditions.
One-third of people needing home-care packages waited more than three months. File Picture: Mary Meagher/Kalgoorlie Miner
They warned it will mean the sickest people, such as 84-year-old Alison Armstead, will find it even harder to find a place.
Ms Armstead, who has been at the Catholic Homes-run Marist Lodge in Belmont for two years, is blind in one eye and has heart problems, diabetes, leg ulcers, arthritis and vascular disease.
From next year, her care will be classed as low to medium, which the facility says will slash her Government funding by $18,000 a year.
Ms Armstead said yesterday she would have nowhere to go if she did not have a place at the home. “I’m very happy here but I am worried about the future for me and people like me,” she said.
The new funding model would disadvantage people with complex needs, the industry says. File Picture: Mary Meagher/Kalgoorlie Miner
Catholic Homes chief executive Sonya Smart said the new funding model would particularly disadvantage people with complex health needs.
“It will mean some facilities will go broke and residents won’t be getting the level of care they currently get,” she said.
“And when people are knocking on the door, facilities won’t be taking people with complex health needs — the very people who need residential care because they need 24-hour care.”