Significant increase in high-need aged care packages
Just over 46,500 Australian Government aged care packages were available as at 30 June 2008, nearly 4,000 more than for the previous year, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
According to the report, Aged care packages in the community 2007-08 a statistical overview, around 42,500 people were receiving help from these packages at the end of 2007-08, and nearly 62,000 received help from the packages at some time over the course of the year.
Ms Gail Brien, Head of the Institute's Ageing and Aged Care Unit said, 'Community care packages help older people who might otherwise enter residential aged care to stay in the community, by providing them with help in their own homes.'
There are three main types of packages:
Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) for people with low-care needs;
Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages for people with high-care needs; and
EACH Dementia packages, which are tailored to people with dementia-related behavioural problems or psychological symptoms.
'Compared to the CACP, which had over 40,000 operational packages, the EACH and EACH Dementia programs were still small at around 4,000 and 2,000 operational packages respectively, Ms Brien said.
'But both EACH programs have had significant increases. Over 900 new EACH packages were made available (an increase of 29%), and over 700 new EACH Dementia packages (an increase of 57%).
'Availability of high-care packages is still more limited in remote and very remote areas, however, the first five packages for very remote areas began operating in 2007-08,' she said.
There were 23 community care packages for every 1,000 people aged 70 and over, with 14% being for people with high-care needs.
The Australian Government plans to increase the number of packages to 25 per thousand by 2010-11, with 16% being for people with high-care needs.