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Review into respite is calling on you

Respite services in Australia can be accessed in a number of ways, through a number of channels and for varying lengths of time, but whether these care options are meeting the needs of the elderly, carers and providers is now up for discussion as part of an announced federal review.

A new independent review into respite in Australia has been issued (Source: Shutterstock)
A new independent review into respite in Australia has been issued (Source: Shutterstock)

The review, tasked to the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) by Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt, is currently seeking input, comment and consultation from the community after a public consultation paper was issued on 9 March.

In the consultation paper announcement, the ACFA states that respite care has “not been reviewed in some time, and your views are sought on whether the current arrangements meet the needs of carers, care recipients and providers”.

They add that this review will consider issues in the context of “maintaining a viable, accessible and sustainable aged care industry that balances the needs of consumers, providers, the workforce, taxpayers, investors and financiers”.

Minister Wyatt says he commissioned this respite review project following a recommendation made in the David Tune Review, which he also requested last year.

Recommendation 8 of the legislated review report suggests ‘That the government:

a)  in the short-term, review the existing respite arrangements to ensure that its objectives are being met.

b)  in the medium term, in discontinuing the Aged Care Approvals Round for residential care (Recommendation 3), review how best to ensure adequate supply and equitable access to residential respite care.’

“Carers play a vital role in supporting older people to remain living at home and in the community [and] to help maintain the caring relationship, carers and their care recipients may choose to access respite care,” the Minister explains.

“I requested the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) undertake a study and report on respite care and the appropriateness of the current arrangements, including funding structures, for providers and consumers.

“Although Recommendation 8 specifically mentions residential respite care, in January 2018 I wrote to the ACFA Chair agreeing that this was not a stand-alone service and that other types of respite care including in-home and community respite care should be included to provide a more complete picture.”

 As part of the public consultation, the ACFA is seeking the views of stakeholders and invites submissions on the current:

  • Use of residential respite care
  • Use of respite care services provided under the Commonwealth Home support Programme (CHSP) - including flexible, centre based and cottage respite care services - and respite care in home care packages and their interaction with residential respite care
  • Interaction of respite care arrangements and other forms of care
  • Respite care arrangements including funding for providers
  • Funding arrangements for consumers including the costs they pay

The independent committee is also seeking the views on the increasing use of residential respite care and the appropriateness for the current arrangements under the following items:

  • The process for applying for and seeking access to respite care
  • Bottlenecks or delays in accessing either residential or non-residential respite care
  • Whether current provider funding structures for the provision of residential respite care are appropriate
  • Whether the current system for allocating respite bed days to residential care providers impacts the availability and provision of respite care
  • Costs to consumers and/or carers seeking to access respite care
  • Impact of the current arrangements on equity of access for respite care recipients, including access in an emergency, or to residential respite for periods of less than one week
  • Any unintended impacts or consequences of the current arrangements supporting access to residential respite care
  • Use of Commonwealth Home Support Programme respite care services and the interaction with other programs that deliver respite services, including residential respite care
  • And other matters relevant to respite

The consultation paper is open for comment until 5pm Friday 13 April 2018 and will have a reporting date of October 2018.

Feedback can be sent via email or by post to:

ACFA Secretariat

Department of Health

MDP 465

GPO Box 9848

Canberra ACT 2601

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