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Patients to benefit from $3.7b aged care package
OLDER Australians are set to benefit from increases in health funding for home care and dementia diagnosis in a sweeping $3.7 billion aged care reform package announced by the federal government today.
The government’s new 10-year ‘Living Longer, Living Better’ plan, which follows a Productivity Commission report, is set to start 1 July with the aim of giving more older Australians access to home care and of making aged care funding more equitable.
While the package, unveiled ahead of next month’s federal budget, largely hinges on almost doubling the number of home care packages and capping fees elderly people’s families are forced to pay, it also includes $58.5 million to improve “better practice and partnerships” between the health and aged care sectors and $21.7 million to improve palliative care.
The government will also spend $14.2 million on multidisciplinary care and enabling older Australians to consult a GP via video. And the package includes $41.3 million to help GPs diagnose dementia faster.
The announcement follows ongoing pressure from many aged care stakeholders and lobby groups for the government to increase its investment in aged care, with multiple studies indicating the nation is set to experience a dementia ‘epidemic’ by 2050.
While welcoming the package as a positive move that gives dementia “the attention it deserves”, Alzheimer’s Australia president Ita Buttrose said more funding was still needed for research.