Apr 06, 2023

Perth council joins a growing list of in-home care provider departures

Perth council joins a growing list of in-home care provider departures

Another local council has joined a growing list of departures from the in-home aged care sector with Perth’s City of Nedlands confirming it will no longer support older residents from 2024.

A declining number of client referrals, a more competitive aged care market and anticipated aged care reforms will bring an end to Nedlands Community Care (NCC) services after more than 40 years of operation,

In a statement, the City of Nedlands said changes will not be made to its current services and it will work with clients to ensure they have a suitable service provider in place before December 31.

“With a heavy heart, the City of Nedlands has made the difficult decision to cease its Nedlands Community Care home-support services in 2024,” Chief Executive Bill Parker said.

“Over the next nine months, the City of Nedlands will work very closely with all our clients and their families, as well as the Department of Health and Aged Care, to ensure a smooth transition.  

“In discussion with the Department, the City is very confident the services our clients currently enjoy will be offered by a better-resourced provider.

“The City will provide information about additional services available to the current NCC clients under the Positive Ageing Program in the coming months.”

The City of Nedlands is not alone in abandoning in-home care services as many councils and small providers have opted to transition clients to “better-resourced” providers due to the incoming in-home care reform that will see Support at Home Program replace the established Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and Home Care Packages (HCP) in July 2024.

The change will have a major impact on providers as a new funding model sees clients directly receive Government funding rather than the provider themselves. It means the client can engage the provider and the services they want.

For councils, it takes away a large chunk of upfront Government funding that was based on the number of residents in a council area, regardless of how many accessed services. In addition, many providers have also said they would be unable to meet Government requirements due to their limited resources.

Increased standards and mandates have also impacted the City of Canning, located in Perth’s inner southeast, which will close Canning Lodge, the city’s last remaining council-run aged care home.

Attempts to find a buyer for the home fell through as it was seen as too big of a financial risk, and as a result, residents will have just three months to find a new home.

City of Canning Mayor, Patrick Hall, said they have struggled to fill the home’s 42 beds since COVID-19 began and they believed other homes that solely focus on aged care would be better suited to providing support than the council.

“The inherent risk associated with running a high-care facility of this type has been a key concern of this Council for some years,” Mayor Hall said.

“Sourcing and retaining experienced clinical staff has been a significant challenge, as has been complying with the strict and frequently changing regulatory requirements for aged care facilities.

“We do not have the expertise to continue to run it alone, and there has been little interest from other aged care providers to take over its operations.”

The City of Canning does not offer in-home aged care services.

In-home care has arguably hit Victorian residents the hardest, however, as reports indicate approximately 50 councils have officially stopped or will stop providing aged care services.

These include Whitehorse City Council, The City of Ballarat, Corangamite Shire and even independent providers such as St Vincent de Paul (VincentCare).

Many councils have also said they will cease in-home services by July, providing a short turnaround for older clients to find new service providers. 

In time, it’s expected that the Government will support clients who transition to new providers, although it’s unclear if those services are in place as the Support at Home Program is still one year away from implementation.

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