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BREAKING: Morrison Pledges $537M for Aged Care Reform

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Today, Morrison said the government would deliver a $537 million funding package to respond to the interim report.

After the release of the Royal Comission’s Aged Care Interim Report – The federal government will now spend more than half a billion dollars on aged care. This will now boost the number of home care pacages, in response to 3 areas needing action:

  • Home Care Packages
  • Over-reliance on chemical restraint in aged care
  • Younger people in residential aged care

Prime Minister Scott Morrison would lay aside more money for the aged care sector this December.

 

Home care packages

The bulk of the funds ($496.3 million) will go to an additional 10,000 home care packages.

Morrison said they will be “strongly weighted” towards level 3 and level 4 packages.

They will be rolled out from this Sunday.

 

Morrison committed further funding for Chemical restraints

Morrison committed further funding for medication management programs to the tune of $25.5 million to reduce the use of chemical restraints in aged care.

He also earmarked new restrictions and education for prescribers on the use of medication as a chemical restraint.

From 1 January 2020, we will also establish stronger safeguards and restrictions for the prescribing of repeat prescriptions of risperidone,” the Prime Minister said.

“Doctors will still be able to prescribe it but will be required to apply for additional approval if risperidone is to be prescribed beyond an initial 12-week period. These changes have been developed following recommendations from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, and in collaboration with doctor’s groups and the broader health sector.”

High prescribers will be sent targeted letters and the government will see the development of educational resources to support the appropriate use of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines.

A further $10 million over two years from 2019–20 will go to additional dementia training and support for aged care workers and providers – one of the focuses for that will be reducing the use of chemical restraint.

Morrison added: “The royal commission directed that restraint must only be used as a last resort, and amendments to regulations will make this clear.”

Younger people in residential aged care

Tackling the third of the royal commission’s priority areas, the government will also invest $4.7 million to help meet new targets to remove younger people with disabilities from residential aged care.

Those new targets “apart from exceptional circumstances” are:

  • No people under the age of 65 entering residential aged care by 2022;
  • No people under the age of 45 living in residential aged care by 2022; and
  • No people under the age of 65 living in residential aged care by 2025.

The funds will go, in part, towards a joint agency task force to build a new strategy to ensure the targets are met, establishing a specialist team within the NDIA to prevent younger people with a disability who are eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme from entering aged care, and identifying all available appropriate accommodation across the country to develop a database of existing and new housing options available now and in the future.

Morrison promised that key reforms would continue while the royal commission forged ahead. “There will be more work to do across aged care as we continue to listen and respond to the issues raised by the royal commission.”

Article originally appeared on: https://www.agedcareinsite.com.au/2019/11/morrison-pledges-537-million-for-aged-care/

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