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Impact of Government Policies on Home Care

Home Care Packages

Updated 05-01-2024

Impact of Government Policies on Home Care

The sphere of home care in Australia is profoundly influenced by government policies, which are pivotal in shaping the delivery of services, the quality of care provided, and the accessibility of these services to the ageing population. Understanding how these policies affect both consumers and providers is essential for stakeholders engaged in this critical sector of the healthcare system.

Understanding Home Care in Australia

Home care encompasses a broad range of health and support services provided in a person's home to promote, maintain, or restore health or to maximise the level of independence while minimising the effects of disability and illness, including terminal illness. In Australia, home care services are a fundamental aspect of the healthcare system, primarily targeting the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and those recovering from hospital stays or managing chronic health conditions.

The Role of Federal and State Government

The Australian government plays a pivotal role in regulating and funding the home care sector. Through the Department of Health, the federal government administers national policies and funding programs to ensure aged care services are available to those in need, including the Home Care Packages Program and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. State and territory governments are also involved in the provision and management of home care services, often tailoring services to meet the specific needs of their populations.

Recent Legislative Changes and their Implications

Recent changes in legislation have had significant impacts on the provision of home care services. The introduction of the 'Increasing Choice in Home Care' reforms that commenced in February 2017 marked a transition towards consumer-directed care. These reforms aim to give consumers more choice and control over the types of care and services they receive and who provides them.

Consumer-Directed Care: A Closer Look

This consumer-centric approach allows Australians to have a direct say in their care, selecting services that best suit their individual needs and preferences. This shift has begun to drive higher quality care with a focus on personalised service delivery. However, it has also presented challenges, such as the need for consumers to navigate a more complex system and for providers to adapt to a more competitive market environment.

Funding and Allocation Considerations

Funding is another aspect of government policy that significantly impacts home care. The way in which financing is allocated, be it through consumer payments or government subsidies, influences the accessibility and affordability of care. Adjustments to funding models can alter the landscape of the sector, affecting the sustainability of service providers and the out-of-pocket costs for consumers.

The Impact of Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) Changes

Specifically, modifications to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) impact how providers receive subsidies and the level of financial support they can offer to their clients. The ACFI is designed to ensure that funding is proportionately allocated to the care needs of individuals, but changes in assessment procedures or funding levels can create challenges for both care recipients and providers.

Meeting Workforce Demands

An often under-examined yet critical component of how government policy shapes the home care sector is through the workforce. Policies related to training, wages, and retention of home care workers directly affect the quality and continuity of care. Workforce shortages or inadequate training can result in lower care standards and diminished well-being for those dependent on home care services.

Strategies for a Sustainable Workforce

To ensure a robust home care workforce, the government needs to implement policies that promote education and career development opportunities, fair compensation, and good working conditions. Addressing workforce challenges is crucial to maintain and improve the quality of home care services.

Monitoring and Regulation

Government regulation and monitoring are fundamental to maintaining high standards in the home care sector. Agencies such as the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission are tasked with overseeing compliance, managing accreditations, and ensuring the safety and well-being of care recipients. Any changes in regulatory approaches can directly impact service quality, with more stringent regulations potentially driving improvements across the industry.


In sum, government policies wield a significant influence over the home care sector in Australia. These policies determine the operational framework within which services are delivered and impact every aspect from funding and affordability to quality and workforce sustainability. As the population ages and demand for home care services continues to grow, the efficacy of these policies in adapting to the evolving needs of Australians will remain a focal point for healthcare professionals, legislators, and the broader community.

About the Author

Olivia is a seasoned professional with an extensive career spanning the Aged Care sector, bringing decades of experience to her role. Her comprehensive understanding of Aged Care services and practices is a testament to her dedication. Olivia’s gratitude extends to those who have generously shared their knowledge and insights with her over the years, contributing to her wealth of expertise.

Olivia’s articles reflect her commitment to practical and informative content. They skillfully combine her industry know-how with real-world insights, providing valuable resources for navigating the complexities of the Aged Care sector. Olivia stands as a reliable advocate for delivering compassionate and effective care to elderly individuals, offering her support not only to fellow care workers and professionals but also to those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the sector.

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