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Community Aged Care Services - 2013 - Under review

04 Apr 2013
  1. Effective community based care and home support allows older people to remain living in their own homes for longer. Well supported independent living affords older Australians a better quality of life and better health outcomes.
  2. The benefits of healthy ageing at home include reduced use of acute care and residential aged care services. There can be clear benefits for people who receive good care at home, such as reduced risk of hospital-acquired infection.
  3. Older Australians will have the confidence to live in the community if they have access to adequate services. Their carers will feel supported if respite care is available when it is needed. Timely access to community services is essential to support older Australians and their carers through critical times.
  4. A greater focus on assisting people to age at home does bring risks. The quality of care for individuals living in the community may deteriorate and become more fragmented. This can be avoided if comprehensive community aged care services are available; they meet the specific needs of individuals; and they are coordinated and managed to have the optimal effect for the individuals receiving them. 
  5. The AMA supports expansion of community care services. As the population ages the available services will need to increase in number. In addition, subsidies will need to keep pace with the cost of providing the service.
  6. Community care packages should be coordinated in a way that ensures older Australians and their carers have affordable, timely access to services to support them in their independent living arrangements.
  7. Local services should be designed to meet the needs of the local community. Medicare Locals have a role in identifying the needs of the local community and any gaps in available services.
  8. Information about local services must be easily accessible to members of the public and medical practitioners. This will allow each case to be tailored and managed according to individuals’ needs using the services that are available. 
  9. Early medical assessment is critical to ensuring older Australians receive home support to maintain their level of independence before their social and health situation deteriorates. Medical practitioners should undertake assessment of a patient’s needs, and refer the patient to a service which would then co-ordinate the provision of the required service.
  10. The ongoing need for and provision of community care services must be overseen by general practitioners.
  11. Community care services should be complemented by programs that include transport arrangements so that people can access medical, health and other social services not offered in their homes by community care packages and providers.
  12. Providing ongoing care is physically wearing for carers and can lead to stress and injury. Community care packages must include services that support carers to manage their physical and emotional needs, and to provide timely access to respite services.

Published: 04 Apr 2013