The Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) determines the amount of funding aged care providers receive per resident. Under the proposed cuts, funding for a resident’s complex health care needs will be significantly reduced, resulting in less ACFI revenue per resident.
Uniting AgeWell interim executive director Peter Folliot said this means aged care providers will struggle to meet the needs of vulnerable and sick older people.
“These cuts to the Aged Care Funding Instrument which the federal government is proposing would reduce funding by up to $18,000 for older people with the most complex health needs,” Peter said.
“Residents of facilities in Victoria with complex needs are amongst those who would be hardest hit by these harsh cuts. Critical health needs such as wound and skin care, mobility needs, arthritis treatment and end of life care will be under direct threat.
Mr Folliot said the following case studies of UnitingCare residents were typical of the complex health care needs of aged care residents.
CASE STUDY 1: JANE*
Jane is 88 and has diabetes, skin cancer, back problems, hypertension, dermatitis and a range of other conditions.
She experiences significant pain associated with her fracture and back problems. She had a stroke which significantly affected her capacity to manage her personal care.
She requires direct physical intervention and support from care staff in all aspects of personal hygiene including dressing, washing and grooming.
She is incontinent and relies on staff for all toileting, nutrition and hydration needs. Jane also needs physical assistance from staff members with all transfers and mobility.
Her impaired mobility puts her at high risk of a pressure injury and staff members reposition her at regular intervals during the day and night.
Federal government cuts would reduce funding for Jane by $50.95 per day (or $18,596 per year).
CASE STUDY 2: GEORGE*
George is 87. He has Parkinson’s disease, prostate cancer, hearing loss, dementia, spine fractures and constipation. He experiences significant pain associated with his lumbar spine fractures and requires direct support from care staff in all aspects of personal hygiene.
He is incontinent and requires physical assistance from staff. George also has poor spatial judgement and is at risk of falling or bumping into things. Because of his dementia, George requires the assistance of staff to manage his medication.
With the scoring changes from 1 January 2017, if George was a new resident or was required to be reassessed, his care funding would be $50.95 less per day ($18,596 per annum) than the level applied in June 2016.
Mr Folliot said the cuts are at odds with the government’s claim that it is ‘passionate about ensuring Australians don’t just live longer lives, but healthier ones too’ and called on all MPs to vote against the cuts.
“If the federal government is as concerned as it says about the health of older Australians, it needs to put these cuts on hold now, review the funding model and work with us to develop a better approach,” he said.
If you these cuts to aged care funding concern you, you write to your local MP and ask them to vote against the cuts.
*The case studies are based on current residents of UnitingCare facilities but real names have not been used.