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‘We can’t wait until the end of the royal commission’: Elderly home care waiting lists jump 40%

The number of elderly Australians waiting for home care packages has increased exponentially in the past year.

With the royal commission set to probe the aged-care sector’s preparedness to cope with an ageing population, it appears demand is already surpassing supply, with 40% more seniors waiting for access to home care packages then last year.

121, 000 people are currently on the national waiting list, up from the 88,000 observed during last year.  Nearly 47% of those waiting are classed as having the highest level of care needs, with some  having to wait between nine and twelve months.

Craig Gear, CEO of the Older Persons Advocacy Network, says lengthy waits like this can drag people into residential aged-care facilities prematurely.

 “Our population is ageing,” Gear tells Luke Grant.

 “As more people get assessed for home care, we need the number of packages available to keep up with that demand. In the last quarter alone, we’ve seen about a 13% jump in the number of people that have been assessed as being eligible for an aged-care package at home.

“Those packages need to be there, they need to be keeping up with demand.”

Though pleased by announcements of the royal commission, many are hoping the inquiry doesn’t inhibit or delay reform needed now.

“The Council of the Ageing is talking about 30,000 packages that need to be released now.”

“We can’t wait until the end of the royal commission. These are people who are waiting for care now. We get calls every day from people who say they need more help or else they’ll end up in the Emergency Department or in a nursing home and they’d rather be with family.”


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