Carers Australia, along with other members with the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA), welcomes the announcement that, from 2018, the Home Care Packages Programme and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) will be integrated into a single, integrated community care programme to serve the needs of the aged and their carers.

We are particularly pleased that all these community supports will be provided on a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) basis, regardless of whether the person receiving these services has high or low intensity needs. This means that all consumers of aged care supports living in the community should have greater discretion around which services are provided to them, when and by whom.

“The CDC approach is a great step up from the past model of provider-determined services which have meant, in many cases, that aged people and their carers were often offered a range of services they didn’t want or need. It is high time that the consumer of aged services had a greater say about the type of services they receive and who delivers those services”, said Ara Cresswell, CEO of Carers Australia.

“It is also important that their carers have a voice in the provision of services which impact directly on their own lives as well as the lives of those they are caring for.

“In addition the capacity for consumers to exercise more choice should encourage service providers to offer a more innovative, flexible and consumer-friendly range of services. These would include respite services which are of fundamental importance to carers who need to take a break to meet their own needs, but which are often not used because many existing respite services are neither attractive to, or suitable for, either the person being cared for or the carer.

“It would be our hope that the integration of these two programmes will also address some current inconsistencies in the way access to respite services is made available to carers who look after someone on a Home Carer Package, and those who access services through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.