Around 72,000 people in Australia will need to brace themselves for changes to government funded stay-at-home care schemes for the elderly beginning July. Those who are currently under Home Care Packages or HCP will experience a transition to a new model called Consumer Direct Care or CDC. This change is expected to affect thousands of seniors and pensioners across the country. As early as now, Brisbane aged residents could be affected by these home care changes.
So what exactly is Consumer Direct Care or CDC? Under CDC packages, the recipients will be given more choice on how they want their care to be delivered. They will be told the cost of the care package and that they can negotiate directly with their care provider to receive their desired services.
Although the nationwide transition to CDC will begin on July 1, there are some providers who are already shifting to CDC today. This is good as it allows us to gauge the effects of the system, preparing us for when CDC finally takes off. The government has been positive all along that no one under HCP will be worse off with CDC. They believe that when a recipient is personally involved with choosing the kind of care he or she receives, that individual gets a better outcome.
Beginning July 1, the funding will go the recipient. Admittedly, the funding available is insufficient. In effect, those with higher needs will receive less and experience reduced home care services. Recently, a 99-year old mother, whose care provider already transitioned to CDC, experienced huge cuts to her services. From 19.5 hours under HCP, she now only receives 9.5 hours under CDC. The care provider told her that it will cost her additional $1,500 a week in order to maintain the same level of care she used to receive. She and her daughter couldn’t understand this. This effectively means that they will need to raise $78,000 a year to maintain an adequate home care service in line with what they were used to receiving.
The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA) strongly believes that the government has failed to address one key issue with the CDC program. The problem arises in cross-subsidisation, in which those with lesser care needs have to make do with significant cuts to their funding in order to subsidise those with intensive care needs.
We expect that there will be a lot of confusion too in deciding who gets what and we wonder if this scheme will indeed give beneficiaries more options. As with the 99-year old mum, the additional cost is more than they can afford. “I suppose you start selling the furniture,” the daughter retorted.
If you want an expert aged care financial advice, Brisbane Aged Care Financial Advisers offers free initial consultation to get you started in having worry-free senior years.
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