May 25, 2021

Daughter shares heartbreak after father died waiting for home care package

Home care man dies

On a new episode of Insight on SBS, they tackle the issue of ‘Ageing Parents’, where it’s revealed Walter Higgins spent his final two years “in absolute misery” in residential aged care.

His daughter Beverly told Insight he needed the home support “ASAP”. 

When Walter died six months before his 100th birthday, he was still on the home care waiting list.

The move to residential care was “heartbreaking”

Beverly said it was “heartbreaking” finding her father after his fall, and that after the incident he was no longer safe to be left on his own. 

Making the move into residential aged care was extremely difficult, and Beverly told Insight her father resented her for doing it.

She told the program it would have been better if he’d passed away after the fall because he was so miserable in residential care.

“What I would’ve preferred to happen is that the government do what we pay them for, provide the level four care he was assessed for … which means he had someone with him for seven hours a day … which means they could’ve washed him, fed him, cleaned his house, put him to bed and then back in the morning,” Beverly explained. 

Government pledges 80,000 new home care packages

The latest government data shows there are still 97,000 people waiting for their correct level of home care package. 

While they wait to receive the level of care they have been assessed as needing, most of those on the waiting list (98.6%) are receiving some form of government-funded support.

In the recent federal budget, the government announced it will fund another 80,000 home care packages over the next two years as part of its $17.7 billion aged care package. The government believes this will be enough to clear the current waiting list.

The government has said that 12,000 of those packages will be level four packages, the highest level of care.

Recent research by StewartBrown reveals that even on the highest level of home care package, care recipients receive only 8.36 hours of care per week. The total cost of a level four package to the government is $52,000 per annum.Insight airs on SBS on Tuesday nights at 8.30pm.

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  1. I’m really sorry for this ladies experience however I’m not sure who has been providing her with information as a home care package at even the highest level is not going to provide seven hours of care per day.
    I think there needs to be more realistic advertising in relation to home care packages as they are not enough to keep everyone at home. Some people are actually better off in care depending on their care needs and social situation.

  2. We have a HCP but the rules and how they can be used is forcing us into Residential Aged Care. Did you know when you use respite your HCP is blocked and you can’t do a blend of Respite and being at home due to the packaging restrictions? I fought for my mum and dad to get HCP and now I find that while they are helpful I have dad at home and mum in respite with no way to get them together using HCP. The system is flawed and the services are nearly impossible to purchases what you need to make them work for you to keep family in their own home. Mum can only use her HCP if she exits Residential Respite but then Mum can’t be with Dad without overnight support and no-one will provide this support. And I can’t have mum home during the day because she is still booked into respite therefore no HCP of support. Its a very hard system to navigate and does result in residential aged care becoming permanent care before really necessary

  3. I’m sorry for your loss, I read recently that someone else had been granted the highest HCP and waited four years eventually dying before the package is activated. Surely there is something wrong with the assessment process. Something is also terribly wrong with family expectations from HCP.
    There is a time to enter residential care, surely the very highest package has high needs now and that care might prolong entry to a facility by a year but we need to remember that the very highest package is only about 8 hours per week. Not a long term solution,just a bandaid to assist with the wait for residential care.

  4. Thank you for sharing. Your message was sincerely felt. My sincere heartfelt sympathies to you and your family.

    I feel I’m also in a situation I need to help our aged care where I can.

    – there is so much information out there about home care packages but there really needs a door knocker to applicants to walk the journey with the individual from when an application is submitted to actually receiving the support.

    My client has been assessed to receive a home care package level 3.
    What’s the next steps?
    How do I assist her in putting into action the next steps?

    The online research put into the next steps almost qualifies into a degree, is this really necessary?


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