ABC Radio Adelaide – home care packages

Thursday, 20 February 2020

DAVID BEVAN, HOST: The Community Home Support Program is like an emergency measure until your actual package comes through, and Kathleen has been told her Home Care Package is 9 to 12 months away. And as you heard, her husband actually passed away before his package fronted up. Amanda Rishworth is the Federal Labor MP for Kingston, and it was Amanda who put us onto this issue and the circumstances for Kathleen. She’s on the phone line, good morning Amanda Rishworth.


BEVAN: I can remember Ian Henschke telling us about these Home Care Packages, it’s a huge issue because many people will die before they even get their packages, and indeed this has happened in this family’s case. Although the Government has increased the number of packages, it’s still nowhere near enough to meet demand.

RISHWORTH: That’s right, the best estimates are there’s about 100,000 people waiting for a Home Care Package. Kathleen and her husband are not the first to come to our office, in fact this is becoming a regular occurrence when people are coming to our office and saying that they’ve been told it will be 12 months to two years to actually get the support they need. So what’s really frustrating for them of course is they’re getting assessed quite quickly, and their level of need has been identified quickly, but then once that level of need has been assessed the actual support is not coming. I’ve had people quite anxious about this, saying that they think they should apply now when they don’t need the help because they might need it in two years time. Of course it doesn’t quite work like that, because they’ll be assessed as fit and able at the moment. But that is the level of anxiety and worry out there at the moment.

BEVAN: And the Community Home Support program which are these emergency measures – I don’t think they use that term but that’s what it seems like to me – they duplicate what you’re going to get with the Aged Care Package, but it’s very bureaucratic. I mean the people are wonderful but it’s so bureaucratic.

RISHWORTH: It is bureaucratic and quite piecemeal, and you don’t get all the services that you necessarily need.

BEVAN: No you don’t get everything, you get something.

RISHWORTH: You get something, you get a bit of gardening, you get maybe a little bit of travel and things like that. But you don’t get the ongoing nursing that you might need, or some of the really specific services to meet your individual needs. They really are “you can get a bit of this, and a bit of that” but it’s not about actually meeting your individual needs to help you stay at home. And this is the frustrating bit for so many people is they do not want to go into aged care facilities, they want to stay in their own home. Some people are very happy with aged care facilities, but some people desperately want to stay in their own home and these packages are meant to facilitate this. All it’s going to do without getting the support, is people will have to go into facilities that they don’t want to and they won’t be happy in.

BEVAN: Amanda Rishworth thank you for talking to us, Federal Labor Member for Kingston.


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