New Aged Care Funding
To help address the loneliness that is faced by many older Australians, the Government has committed an additional $34.4 million to expand the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS). This new funding will allow for an increase of 4,348 volunteers that are available to provide companionship for older Australians. This will bring the total number to 17,811 volunteers.
For those older Australians living with a disability, we are also increasing funding for the Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) program. This new funding will be an additional $229 million over 2 years, which will assist in aligning the DSOA services and prices with the NDIS. Currently there are 2850 Australians utilising this program.
We are also working to create a new simpler, fairer and more transparent system to provide in-home aged care to enable senior Australians to remain in their own home for as long as they wish. The Support at Home Program will replace other Commonwealth programs which will lead to greater transparency on administration fees and lower costs.
RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE
The Government is investing $6.3 million to ensure the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) is a strong, independent regulator. Their roles and responsibilities are set to be expanded over the next few years to allow for greater oversight.
There will also be $64.2 million provided to support a stronger aged care sector by facilitating residential aged care facilities (RACFs). This investment will help aged care providers expand and improve their business. In cases where they are not able to continue, this funding can help ease their exit from the market and ensure their customers are not left without assistance.
The Government will be investing $5.7 million over 3 years to support the transition of the clinical care components of the Aged Care Quality Standards. The additional investment will allow the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) to undertake research, sector consultation, clinical standards development and the development of guidance and training tools to support implementation.
WORKFORCE AND GOVERNANCE
The Government has committed $9.1 million to extend the Aged Care Registered Nurses’ payment which aims to attract and retain more highly qualified and dedicated Registered Nurses to the aged care sector.
Registered Nurses who work at the same provider over a 12-month eligibility period which commenced on 1 November 2021 are eligible for payments under this program. This extension to the program will provide access to half-year payments for Registered Nurses who begin employment within the first half of the existing 12-month eligibility period.
The half-year payment will be $1,850, and will cover eligibility periods:
• 1 May 2022 – 31 October 2022
• 1 May 2023 – 31 October 2023
1,160 Registered Nurses will benefit from the half-year payment.
The Government is investing $154 million over 2 years towards improved ICT to cut paperwork and enable staff more time to care for aged care residents.
If you want to read more about the Australian Government’s aged care reform, please visit this website: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/aged-care-reforms