Home Care Services spending is on the rise. In fact, it may dramatically increase, both proportionally and in real terms. In the 2015–16 State and Federal Governments spent approximately $17 billion on aged care services. Interestingly, close to 70% of this was directed towards residential aged care. Residential Aged Care refers to facilities operated by Government, charities or private firms etc.
Notably, according to statistics provided by the Governments Australian Institute of Health & Welfare Aged Care Data website ‘GEN’, aged care spending has increased every year since 2011.
Surely then, with a rapidly aging population Home Care Services spend is only going to increase. In fact, that may be one of the key reasons government appears to be focussing more and more on Home Care services.
Home Care Services explained
The term ‘Home Care Services’ refers to the practice of caring for the elderly where they live, rather than moving them into an aged care facility. Home Care spend increased marginally to just under $4.5 Billion dollars in 2015-16. However, if Government pushes for more elderly to be cared for at home, this is likely to dramatically increase. So why promote this?
The Home Care Services model has achieved success both here in Australia and overseas. However, not having full time staff in residence means that if something goes wrong, such as a fall, the elderly person may not get help for some time. That’s why many technology companies are working to provide solutions for this problem, such as fall monitors. They even have monitors that can connect to your fridge to make sure you are up and eating breakfast as normal! These technologies, combined with scheduled visits from professional carers, mean many elderly can now stay at home longer in spite of advanced care needs.
Benefits to Government & the taxpayer
In countries such as the USA, the Home Care Services model is well established. There, several studies (such as this study on the Basic Statistics of Home Care) looked at the costs for groups of similar patients. They found that Home Care is very cost effective compared to in-hospital or residential (aged care facility) based care. In short, it is often cheaper to care for someone in their home than it is at a facility.
Expect more Home Care Services
The ABS claims that 1 in 3 workers are caring for ageing parents. Further, that number is increasing. In fact they predict that 45% of workers expect to be taking on elder care responsibilities over the coming 5 years. As our population ages, and the costs of caring for our elderly increase, expect more Home Care Services.
This is firstly because it is less expensive. Therefore, Government is incentivised to promote Home Care. Secondly, home care is popular with the elderly themselves. That’s because they don’t have to leave a home they may have lived in all their lives. Furthermore, they can stay close to friends and lifestyle routines. This is despite many aged care homes providing a range of services in modern facilities. Third, many aged care providers are planning to also offer home care services to their local community.