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Improving home care quality and delivery

Caring for Australia's ageing population will become one of the “greatest challenges of this century” unless system wide home care reform is recognised and adopted by governments, policy makers, healthcare professionals and the community.
Healthcare networks call for home care reform.
Healthcare networks call for home care reform.

The calls for reform were highlighted in a discussion paper titled, Defusing a Ticking Time Bomb: Improving the quality and delivery of home care in Australia.

The paper was developed by Carers Australia, Palliative Care Australia, Continence Foundation Australia, Pharmacy Guide of Australia, the Australian Wound Management Association and Wendy’s Home Services.

It comes after the conclusion of a panel of leading disability and aged care stakeholders who convened to address the growing care crisis in Australia.

There are about 2.6 million carers providing unpaid care and support to family and friends with a disability or who are frail aged in Australia.

Collectively, these carers provide 1.32 billion hours of care annuals. The paper describes the care system as a ‘ticking time bomb’, under immense pressure.

Reform grounded in the concept of Consumer Directed Care – where care recipients and their carers are provided greater choice and control over the design and delivery of care – will provide the greatest benefit to individuals and the broader community, the report states.

Some recommendations to create a better home care system, as mentioned in the paper, include:

  • Improving the quality and range of support services available
  • Increasing awareness and education about access to support services
  • Ensuring carers are acknowledged and fully integrated as ‘partners in care’
  • Providing adequate education to carers delivering home health care
  • Reducing the financial, psychological, emotional and physical burden of providing care
  • Ensuring adequate professional training and continuing education on aged care issues for all Australian healthcare professionals and professional care workers
  • Increasing collaboration and coordination in the delivery of care

Treasury Department projections suggest there will be stronger growth in high care residential and community place relative to low care residential places.

The number of high care beds in the community will soon match those within residential institutions.

According to the Productivity Commission 2011 report, Caring for Older Australians, about 3.5 million Australians will require aged care services by 2050, with about 80% of these services delivered in the home.

Read the report Defusing a Ticking Time Bomb: Improving the quality and delivery of home care in Australia.

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