Aged care residents receive around half the government funding of prisoners, the CEO of a Tasmanian nursing home has told local media.

Aged Care Deloraine CEO, Charlie Emmerton, told The Advocate it was “really sad” older members of the community receive such low levels of funding.

“On average we get $50,000 a year for a resident, which includes their daily care, cleaning, washing, medication, and food.

“If I was running a prison I would get $100,000 per inmate. In a prison they don’t need to be toileted or hand fed or help with putting their clothes on,” he said.

Mr Emmerton was commenting on the latest report by StewartBrown, which shows more than 50 per cent of the aged care operators surveyed are making a loss.

The results are even worse in outer regional and remote areas, where 65 per cent of homes made a loss, compared with 47 per cent in cities.

Mr Emmerton said his facility is one of the homes struggling to stay afloat.

“If we can’t pay the bills, and that would include wages, that has an incredible effect in the community,” he explained.

Providers will be forced to close their doors

In the wake of the StewartBrown report, Aged and Community Services Australia CEO, Patricia Sparrow, said the government must provide more support for aged care as a matter of urgency.

“More than half of aged care homes are struggling to remain viable – that’s something we need to fix urgently if we want to avoid closures and maintain proper aged care services,” Ms Sparrow said in a statement.

She repeated ACSA’s call for the government to increase funding to the aged care sector.

“ACSA, and the sector generally, has been highlighting these trends and calling on Government to provide more support so that older people all over Australia can continue to receive the care they need when they need it,” she said.

“If we don’t take action now, people will miss out on what they need because providers have been forced to close or reduce services.”

New funding mechanism’s aim is to ensure funding covers cost of care

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck issued a statement to HelloCare saying the government’s aim is to ensure the sector operates on ”a sound financial footing”.

To this end, the government has commissioned the Australian Health Services Research Institute to develop the Australian National Aged Care Classification Assessment Tool, which is intended to be performed by an expert clinician who is not familiar with the resident and to capture the true cost of delivering care.

A trial of the AN-ACC will be completed soon.

“The introduction of a new funding model will be a tangible step toward ensuring the industry is fair and the care of elderly and vulnerable Australians remains a priority,” Mr Colbeck said.

Image: artisteer, iStock.

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