How the 2022 Budget affects home care and NDIS participants
How the Budget will affect aged care, NDIS and Five Good Friends
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down the 2022-2023 Federal Budget on Tuesday 29th March. The budget sets the stage for the upcoming election with the cost of living at the forefront of concerns.
But what does it mean for our ageing loved ones who are receiving government funded care and loved ones living with a disability who are participants in the NDIS? Here we asked our Five Good Friends CEO Simon Lockyer what stood out for him.
Continuation of the 2021 aged care budget
The primary focus on the budget commentary has been around the one-off cost-of-living payments which include a $250 payment for pensioners. However, it’s fair to say there hasn’t been a lot of talk about aged care and particularly home care funding this budget.
According to Simon, it’s probably worthwhile to remember that this is off the back of last year’s budget, when the Government promised a significant increase in funding to the sector.
“Last year, $17.7bn was committed to aged care and about $7.4bn of that went to home care. That was to happen over four years and it was to implement many of the recommendations of the Royal Commission to help transform the sector into a technology enabled consumer focused, data driven, high quality sector,” he explains.
This year, there are a few new initiatives to increase that commitment including an extra 40,000 Home Care Packages into the market.
“It continues to show the government's commitment to care in the home to enabling people to live connected to the friends, the families, the communities that they love for as long as they want”, Simon highlights.
New home care system coming soon
One possible reason there hasn’t been a lot of new funding in this year’s budget is that the home care system is going to change next year. In July 2023, the Home Care Packages and Commonwealth Home Support Program will merge into the Support at Home program.
“The way people are going to be assessed, and the way the funding is going to be given will change. I think there is a strong commitment to making these changes in that timeframe.” Simon explains.
At Five Good Friends, we think having one consistent and unified support at program will help raise the standard of care and give people more choice. We look forward to sharing more about the new program when we know more.
Aged care workforce challenges
Workforce is one of the biggest challenges in aged care. A CEDA workforce report found that Australia is facing a shortage of at least 110,000 aged-care workers in the next decade unless we take urgent action. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much in this year’s budget.
“There still wasn't a lot there. There's $48.5 million for the JobTrainer Aged Care Boost, a new training to attract people to the sector and help them see care as a genuine career opportunity. We welcome that,” Simon says.
At Five Good Friends, we’re making our own investments in building the aged care workforce.
“We’re making a significant investment in workforce by building out a new programme to attract, grow and retain people. We want to help people see this as a really awesome career,” Simon highlights.
On-site pharmacies for residential aged care
The most significant funding measure in this year’s aged care budget is $345.7million going to provide on-site pharmacists and community pharmacy services from January next year.
Although we don’t provide residential aged care at Five Good Friends, medical mismanagement is a problem in home care too.
“I think what is interesting about that is home care suffers the same challenges with ‘medication misadventure’ and it is one of the leading causes of hospitalisation. This is a bit of a wish, but we would love to see that kind of focus for home care as well,” Simon says.
NDIS continues to grow
The other key budget area of interest is the news that the NDIS scheme is going to be more expensive than first predicted. But according to Simon, the good news is the government is fully committed to funding it.
“They announced an extra $39.6 billion over four years to funding the NDIS so they now expect next year to cost $33.9 billion up from $28.3 billion. But what's interesting about that is it's not the costs blowing out, it's the number of participants who are coming in. Plans are remaining pretty stable, but they're helping more and more people,” he says.
The good news is that because it’s an insurance scheme, ultimately it will use the data to level out costs.
“It also generates an enormous amount of economic stimulus for the economy too, because all these people are delivering services and roles,” he explains.
If you’d like to know more about how the NDIS or Home Care packages may be able to help in your situation, get in touch with our Care Advice team during business hours on 1300 787 581.