Leading seniors advocate COTA Australia today heralded the start of changes to the delivery of aged care services at home which for the first time put much more choice and control into the hands of older people.
COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates said up until today, if an older person didn’t like the service being provided it was incredibly hard to change.
“The introduction of Choice and Control for consumers is a massive shift in aged care delivery in Australia,” Mr Yates said.
“Up until today service providers were allocated Home Care Packages and they then decided who they would provide what services to, when and on what conditions, as they saw fit.
“From today, the older person is allocated the Home Care Package, then chooses which service provider they want and the funding package is used with that provider.
“Importantly, an older person who is getting poor or unsuitable service can now go to another service provider and the funding goes with them.
“They are not held hostage by the package having been allocated by government to the service provider.
“This fundamental change also gives older people and their families greater ability to negotiate the services they want from providers instead of being told what is available, when, at what price and trying to fit into that.
“Not only will this begin to empower older people to make their own choices and give them much more control about where and when they get services, it is also likely to increase the quality of aged care service provision across the board as service providers compete to keep their clients and attract others.
“This will over time be a real boost to the quality of care provided to older Australians as this change allows good providers to thrive while poorer ones will have to lift their game or fail.”
Mr Yates said older people and their advocates, like COTA, had been calling for these changes for years and are thrilled to see them finally beginning today.
“We still have a long way to go to ensure older people have full control over their own funding in both home and residential care, but this is a significant move in the right direction.
“It is an important step toward implementation of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations for a fully consumer focused and controlled system.
“We commend the Turnbull government for continuing to advance these reforms and look forward to implementation of the Aged Care Roadmap to achieve full choice and control for older people,” Mr Yates said.
Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774
COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.