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More funding to help keep older Australians out of permanent residential care

In a bid to decrease the number of older Australians prematurely entering permanent residential care, access to short-term care for older Australians who fall or get sick is now available under a new Federal Government program. 

The Short-Term Restorative Care Programme helps older people to regain their independence (Source: Shutterstock)
The Short-Term Restorative Care Programme helps older people to regain their independence (Source: Shutterstock)

The Short-Term Restorative Care Programme (STRC) builds on the success of the existing Transition Care Programme, which assists older people to return home after a hospital stay. However unlike transition care, STRC will be available to people who have not had a hospital stay.

Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, MP, says 475 Short-Term Restorative Care places with an estimated total expenditure of up to $34.7 million a year are available as part of the 2016-17 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR); 400 places will be available this year, and 75 places will be available in 2017–18.

He says the funding will help older people to manage daily tasks, maintain their independence and stay in their homes for as long as possible. 

“It increases the care options available in circumstances, for example, where older people would benefit from targeted intervention to recover from short-term incapacity or injury,” says Mr Wyatt.

Under the STRC package, a person is provided with up to eight weeks of care designed to help them get back on their feet and improve their quality of life. It can be delivered at home, in an aged care home or a combination of both.

Mr Wyatt says if an older person suffered a fall at home and was approved for Short-Term Restorative Care, their care provider could arrange for physical therapy with the support of the person’s doctor and allied health professionals, who would work together to identify potential hazards in their home and get them back on their feet.

“Because of the eight week duration of each care package, up to 3,000 people a year will be able to access the program through the initial 475 places,” says Mr Wyatt. 

“As more places are allocated over the next five years, up to 13,000 people will be potentially able to access this care each year.”

The majority of STRC places were allocated to Victoria, which received 116 places. New South Wales and Queensland also faired well, receiving 103 and 111 places respectively. Western Australia received 83, South Australia received 20 and ten places were allocated in Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

Aged & Community Services Australia CEO, Pat Sparrow, says ACSA very much welcomes the announcement of the commencement of the program. 

"Our aged care provider members have a strong commitment towards restorative care and do great work in this area,” she says. 

“The number of applications for the places available are a good indication of this commitment. Aged care providers want to be able to adopt restorative care approaches in all of the services they deliver. How this can be achieved will be an ongoing discussion point as aged care reform progresses.”

Additional residential aged care places and the capital grant components of the 2016–17 Aged Care Approvals Round will be announced at a later date.

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