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June van de Klashorst
Carers benefit from new policy
18/10/2000 8:59 AM
Western Australia’s 200,000 carers will benefit from the State Government’s Carers Policy announced today which will address areas of unmet need, investigate the emerging needs of carers and those they care for and increase awareness of carers.
In announcing the policy today, Health Minister John Day, Seniors’ Minister June van de Klashorst and Disability Services Minister Paul Omodei, said there will be an additional $27 million of Government funds spent in this area over the next two years.
Mr Day said the policy recognised the important work of carers and the stress that often came with caring for those who are dependent on others either through age, sickness or disability.
“It also recognised the growing dependence on carers resulting from the ageing of our population and longer life spans,” he said.
“An additional $800,000 of Home and Community Care (HACC) funding will go towards developing new respite services and to increase existing levels of centre-based and in-home respite on weekdays, evenings and weekends.
Mr Day said a further $500,000 will be used to provide new Centre Day Care facilities and to upgrade existing services. Examples include:
$82,000 towards a new Centre Day Care in Koongamia targeting people moving into Homeswest aged complexes in the Mundaring and Eastern Hill areas;
$59,400 to purchase emergency respite in Perth for people with moderate to severe dementia with high care needs and/or difficult behaviour;
$63,000 towards a new Centre Day Care in South Hedland;
$34,400 to purchase additional weekend and evening services for younger people with disabilities in the South Metro area; and –
$30,000 to purchase additional Centre Day Care services in the Wheatbelt and Fitzroy Crossing.
The Minister said the remainder of the funds will be used to increase services such as home help, personal care, home nursing, transport and meals.
Seniors’ Minister June van de Klashorst said the Carers Policy was a commitment of the Government’s policy for our maturing population ‘
Time on Our Side’
launched in 1998.
“People aged between 60 and 74 are twice as likely as others to be carers and the need for carers will increase with the ageing of our population,” the Minister said.
“Currently 14 per cent of our population - or 253,000 people - are seniors aged 60 or over. That will more than double to 548,000, or 22 per cent of the population, in 2021.”
Mrs van de Klashorst said initiatives in the Carers Policy to benefit seniors include:
undertake a pilot campaign to increase the awareness of available resources and issues for carers among general practitioners, other health professionals and care providers;
support carers through a pilot program to link them with others or through a telelink;
increase the access to carer retreats and evaluate their use;
the State Government will also sponsor a Carers Symposium in 2001 to help Government and non-Government agencies develop strategies to assist carers;
undertake research into the needs of young carers as well as Aboriginal carers, carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, socially and geographically isolated carers and carers of people requiring complex medical assistance;
undertake research into how community attitudes towards ageing influence caring;
conduct a feasibility study into the range of concessions and subsidies available to carers;
the Office of the Public Advocate to expand community education, especially for carers on guardianship, administration and enduring power of attorney;
Department of Family and Children’s Services to publish a
Living with Ageing Parents
booklet; and -
Department of Productivity and Labour Relations to develop an Internet Eldercare Kit and ongoing promotion of family friendly workplaces.
Disability Services Minister Paul Omodei acknowledged the tremendous work of families and said the Government’s primary role was to support families, not to replace them.
“The recently announced Disability Services Commission second five-year Business Plan
focussed on areas of unmet need of people with disabilities, their families and carers as well as strengthening and supporting families and communities,” the Minister said.
“Additional funding from the Commonwealth and State Governments over the next two years will increase the availability of services and support.”
Mr Omodei said it will include:
$8.93 million for people with disabilities who are in immediate need of out-of-home care accommodation support primarily because their carer is no longer able to provide care;
$7.55 million for respite and family care packages to strengthen families in their caring role;
$5.14 million for post school options and alternatives to employment for school leavers and adults with disabilities who are not able to enter employment programs - in effect this will increase the respite available for families;
$3.2 million for professional therapy services, aids and equipment so people with disabilities can maximise their independence - this reduces the need for supervision and care; and -
$700,000 for local area co-ordination to continue to assist people with disabilities and their families plan, select and receive services.
The Ministers said the Carers Policy underlined the Government’s continuing support for the important work of carers and will identify emerging needs in the area.
Owen Cole (Minister van de Klashorst’s Office) 9481 7810
Carole Cowling (Minister Day’s Office) 9213 6600
Hugh Ryan (Minister Omodei’s Office) 9213 6700