9% bump in number of Home Care Packages (HCPs) – but will COVID-19 delay release of more packages?

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There were 128,781 older Australians in a Home Care Package at 31 December 2019 – a healthy 9.1% (10,731) increase since 30 September (three months) and a 38% annual increase from December 2018, according to the latest data report.

However, only 17,436 of these entries were new – suggesting that many on the national prioritisation queue were being moved up to higher level packages.

In total, 60,000 were in a higher Level 3 or 4 package – 37.5% higher than the same period in 2018.

But there were also almost 60,000 people (58,936) who were approved but still waiting for a package, any package.

There was also a 2.5% annual increase (23 providers) in the number of home care providers to 925 – higher than the number of approved residential care providers at 873.

This equates to 139 clients each. The average home care package is $29,000, giving them an annual turnover of $4 million.

People want to stay at home longer with greater frailty – see bed occupancy trends.

It costs the Government $65,000 a year for a bed, but $29,000 for home care.

But with the Government spending up big on COVID-19, is there money for more home care?

And the number of 60,000 waiting just gets longer when the median waiting time is still over a year for anything above a basic Level 1 Package.

The postponed Budget to September likely pushes the next release into the 2021 Budget – 12 months away.