Aged care bills essential for long-term reform

Aged care bills essential for long-term reform

UnitingCare Australia supports long the awaited aged care legislation tabled in the Federal Parliament March 13 and encourages all parties and Independents to also get behind the bills.

National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said the five Bills will provide older Australians with better choice and access to a range of services and supports, regardless of their ability to pay.

These principles line up with recommendations in the Productivity Commission Report: Caring for Older Australians, released in 2011, which provides a road map on how we as a nation can support older people now and into the future.

The key principles in that report include:

  • universal access to services and care based on need
  • the separation of accommodation and care, enabling funding to follow the person
  • giving older people the information and access to support through a local contact point and a person-centred focus
  • a sustainable service system into the future

“The UnitingCare network of aged care services has been very engaged in the development of this reform package,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

“Australia’s growing ageing population quite rightly expect that they will have access to the services and supports that will allow them to maintain their health, their autonomy and their dignity as they age.

“Preventable problems like falls and the impact of loneliness and isolation can lead to premature admission to residential care. Access to appropriate, affordable housing and support are logical first steps to preventing these basic problems.

“It makes good social and economic sense to invest heavily in the wellbeing of older people to enable them to remain healthy, active members of their local communities.

“Investment is needed along the whole continuum of care, not just at the end stages of life when people are so disabled, often by preventable problems, that they have no options other than residential care.

“We believe these Bills, if passed, will provide a crucial reform framework that will provide better choice and access to a range of aged care services and support for older Australians.

“UnitingCare Australia has been central to the reform process and we will continue to work with the Government and other stakeholders, to ensure everyone gets access to quality aged care,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

The UnitingCare network manages 14 per cent of all residential aged care places Australia-wide with over 26,000 aged care beds nationally and 21 per cent of community care packages in every state and territory in remote, regional and metropolitan Australia.

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