Yesterday the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, committed $537 million to address the three identified priority areas from the interim Royal Commission report. The Government is:
- investing $496.3M for an additional 10,000 home care packages;
- providing $25.5M to improve medication management programs to reduce the use of medication as a chemical restraint on aged care residents and at home
- place new restrictions and education for prescribers on the use of medication as a chemical restraint;
- delivering $10M for additional dementia training, including to reduce the use of chemical restraint; and
- investing $4.7M to remove younger people with disabilities from residential aged care.
The home care packages will be strongly weighted towards Level 3 and level 4 packages. They will be rolled out from one December.
Commissioner Briggs said yesterday in Canberra at a public forum that she is generally happy with the announcements.
However LASA CEO Sean Rooney points out this does not address the 192 residential aged care operators about to close their doors on the 1,500 aged care operators that are operating at breakeven or a loss.
Given that 70% of expenses is staff, how can an operator deliver quality care and safety (the remit of the Royal Commission) when you are operating at breakeven or a loss? Staff reductions is the only answer.
The extra 10,000 home care packages will also require at least 1,000 extra staff, at a time when experienced staff are leaving the sector because of the bad press coming out of the Royal Commission.
Watch this space.