Update on Council's aged care services

Mount Alexander Shire Councillors unanimously resolved to continue to provide and expand Council’s aged care services at a confidential meeting of Council on Tuesday 17 October 2023. 

This decision was made following an extensive review of Council's aged care services in response to national reform of the aged care sector. 

What are the Commonwealth Government aged care reforms?

  • The Commonwealth Government has been reforming the aged care sector for approximately 8 years, including recommendations from The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
  • The reforms are wide ranging in scope, and cover aspects from changes to compliance, reporting, safety and quality requirements, clinical governance and funding arrangements.
  • Some changes that have already taken place as part of the reforms include the introduction of My Aged Care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • Under the current model, Mount Alexander Shire Council receives funding from the Commonwealth Government to deliver the Home Support Program (CHSP). Council also receives funding from multiple sources, including Victorian Government, Home Care Package Providers, and Veterans Home Care.  
  • The CHSP provides entry level services focused on supporting older people to maintain residence within their homes and connection with community. Services are provided on a short-term or ongoing basis and include allied health and therapy services, personal care, domestic assistance, social support and home modifications.
  • From 1 July 2025, a new program called the In Home Support Program will replace CHSP services, and also absorb a range of other aged care programs.
  • The In Home Support Program will significantly change the funding and delivery of current aged care services delivered by Council, and many other Victorian local governments. 

What has Council decided?

  • After an extensive review process, Councillors resolved to continue to deliver aged care services, and to expand these services in the future.
  • The decision was made in-camera during the Council meeting on Tuesday 17 October.
  • Council will now apply to become a Home Care Package Provider and inform relevant government authorities and agencies of its decision.
  • Council will also work to implement new systems and processes to enable continuous improvement as we transition to the new Commonwealth Government In Home Support Program.
  • In the long-term, Council will look for opportunities to grow the suite of aged care services in a sustainable and measured way, looking at additional revenue streams which are based on client demand. 

What was involved in Council’s review of aged care services?

  • Council’s review of its aged care services was undertaken, which included:
    - Hearing from residents who currently receive support through one of our various aged care services such as domestic assistance, personal care, delivered meals, respite care, exercise in home programs, etc.
    - Consultation with existing aged care service staff and volunteers.
    - Benchmarking with other local government areas with regards to aged care service provision.
    - Detailed financial analysis of delivering aged care services.
    - Detailed analysis of the proposed future modelling of the In Home Support service provision.
    - Analysis of the feasibility of maintaining and developing aged care services in the shire.
  • More than 350 current clients provided feedback into Council’s delivery of aged care services with some key findings including: - - 76% of respondents reporting that the service they are currently receiving from Council fully met their needs.
    - 86% of respondents stated their willingness to stay with Council for care services.   
    - The familiarity and professionalism of care staff was consistently raised as a key value proposition of the service.
    - Existing clients placed significant value on the ability to contact local Council staff to coordinate care needs, make changes to schedules and to seek assistance in navigating My Aged Care.

What happens now? Will there be changes for current client’s service delivery?

  • People who currently receive in-home aged care services in the shire will not notice any major changes while the transition is underway.
  • Council will provide additional telephone support for current clients and the community who wish to ask questions, and seek more information about the transition. Council’s Home Support Hotline is 5471 1768.
  • Council staff who currently deliver aged care services in the community will be supported during the transition to the In Home Support Program. 

Where can I go to find out more information?