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Home care delay

Tuesday, 18th September, 2018

Barb Collins, a Hammond Care client, took up the early commencement offer and said she was glad she did. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Barb Collins, a Hammond Care client, took up the early commencement offer and said she was glad she did. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

Aged care company Hammond Care says older people in Broken Hill have become frustrated at the long delays in starting their Home Care Packages, despite being eligible.

Hammond Care said it was now helping by providing special Early Commencement Offers. 

Home Care packages provide funding from the Federal Government to keep people in their own homes for as long as possible. 

In 2017, changes were made to allow people to have more choice but this also lengthened the queue. 

Recent Government data shows that since January this year, 104,602 people were waiting for their approved Home Care package. This figure rose to 108,456 in March. 

While in the queue, 53,635 had not received any level of interim lower level package to even get them started. People that had been approved for a higher level package can wait nine to 12 months to be assigned one. 

David Martin, Hammond Care at Home General Manager, said the organisation wants to ensure people in Broken Hill have faster access to the care they need and will cover the funding shortfall until final approval comes through. 

“During this desperate waiting time, people’s family and carers risk burn out and stress, or people are being admitted prematurely and unwantedly into residential aged care,” he said.

“People want to stay in their homes, they are eligible to stay in their homes, but they can’t access the funding they need because they queue is long and slow moving.

“At Hammond Care, we’re helping people get started sooner. If someone is eligible for home care following their assessment by the Aged Care Assessment bodies, but they are still waiting for their funding approval to come through, they can start with Hammond Care At Home today,” said Mr Martin.

Local resident Barb Collins used Hammond Care’s Early Commencement offer after a hospital visit. She used it for the first six weeks out of hospital and then waited just three months to gain a government package. 

“I wouldn’t have thought about a home package or any help, I would’ve struggled on my own but I decided I needed it.”

Since the Early Commencement Program began in mid-2017, more than 250 people have taken advantage of the offer.

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