ACSA pushes for reform process

AUSTRALIA’S $1 billion-plus community care system is in urgent need of reform according to Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), the main peak body representing the aged and community care industries.

In a paper delivered to a recent conference of more than 400 aged and community care providers, the chair of ACSA’s national Community Care Advisory Committee, Paul Sadler, said Australia’s community care system has many strengths but was in need of practical reforms to eliminate repetitive and redundant paperwork.

“We also need more fundamental reforms to address the lack of coordination of service delivery, the inflexible rules governing each separate program and the uncoordinated planning of new services,” Mr Sadler said.

Home and Community Care is a cost share program between the State and Federal Governments and provides funding for services that support and enable frail, aged and disabled people to live as independently as possible in their own homes.

Aged and Community Services Australia WA executive director Sharon Staines believes the development of a more efficient and effective community care program is essential. She said the nation’s ageing population would account for a quarter of all Australians by 2051, resulting in more pressure being put on residential care.

“With residential aged care the places (number of beds) are limited and, with the ageing of the population, the number of residential aged care places is not going to keep up with the numbers of people needing care,” Ms Staines said.

“So it’s going to be supply and demand really. That means residential care will continue to grow but community care will probably grow faster … a lot of people are going to be looking for care in the community.”

Ms Staines also believes that a more efficient and effective community care system would free up much-needed beds in WA’s already overcrowded hospitals, as it allowed for people who required care or rehabilitation assistance to receive the required care at home.

ACSA has identified two main areas of reform needed in the community care system – the development of a vision of community care, free from the current program restraints and paradigms; and administrative stream-lining to create efficiency and ensure people are put before paper – and is currently developing strategies in order to advance the reform process.

p See Retirement Feature, Page 19

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