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Home care reform puts older Australians in control

27 February 2017 marks the launch of the Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms, which gives older Australians more choice and control over their home care services.

Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms gives consumers more choice and control (Source: Shutterstock)
Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms gives consumers more choice and control (Source: Shutterstock)

From this date Home Care Packages are allocated to you, the consumer, allowing you to choose any service provider to deliver your home care services.

It also means that if you’re not happy with the services you receive or if you move to a different area, you’ll be able to take the Home Care Package with you to a new provider.

Launching the reforms today, Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, AM, MP, says they will improve the way services are delivered to older people in their homes.

“Today’s announcement is fundamentally about increasing consumer choice and control, however, it is also about reforming, renewing and revitalising our aged care system.

“We are undertaking these changes so that older people – the people who helped build this nation to make it what it is today – can have more say in getting the care they need and deserve,” Mr Wyatt adds.

Moving to a more market based aged care system, as outlined in the Aged Care Roadmap, means service providers have to be more flexible, innovative and consumer focused in their delivery of home care.

Mr Wyatt calls the reforms “a major cultural change in the delivery of aged care.”

“Consumers and their carers will be looking for an aged care business that best understands their needs. Providers will need to adapt and innovate to meet this challenge and grasp the opportunities that go with it.”

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Chief Executive Ian Yates says the introduction of Choice and Control for consumers is a massive shift in aged care delivery in Australia.

“Not only will this begin to empower older people to make their own choices and give them much more control about where and when they get services, it is also likely to increase the quality of aged care service provision across the board as service providers compete to keep their clients and attract others.

“This will over time be a real boost to the quality of care provided to older Australians as this change allows good providers to thrive while poorer ones will have to lift their game or fail.”

Mr Yates said older people and their advocates, like COTA, had been calling for these changes for years and are thrilled to see them finally beginning today.

“We still have a long way to go to ensure older people have full control over their own funding in both home and residential care, but this is a significant move in the right direction.”

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