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the departmental brief said.
The department said there
was also no consistency in
claiming patterns. "Of all services
with over 90 per cent of their
residents on a high behaviour,
27 per cent made no claim and
another 27 per cent claimed for
more than half of their residents."
The Northern Territory and
Tasmania had the highest
proportions of claims for over
10 per cent of residents.
The department concluded,
based on the advice of expert
clinicians, there were likely to be
multiple reasons for the higher
than expected claims, including:
• a lack of training for nurses to
• misunderstanding of the
target population, possibly
exacerbated by the name of the
supplement which did not refer
to 'very severe or extreme',
• and the eligibility assessment
tools which were failing to
distinguish the right group.
The department also
acknowledged that inappropriate
claiming could also have been
According to expert clinicians,
the total number of industry
claims (25,000 at March 2014)
more closely matched the
prevalence of severe symptoms
of BPSD within the aged care
population, which is a different
class of residents to those with
very severe or extreme symptoms
of BPSD. While 1 per cent of
people (or 2,000 residents) are
estimated to have very severe
or extreme BPSD, 10 per cent
of people or 20,000 residents
are expected to have severe
in the spotlight
By Darragh O'Keeffe
Labor and the Greens have called on the Federal
Government to determine the causes of the under-
subscription to key supplements that provide
targeted funding to seniors with high care needs,
such as veterans with service-related mental
health needs and those living with dementia.
Department of Social Services documents
obtained by AAA under the Freedom of
Information Act show that the Veterans'
Supplement for Residential Care, the Homeless
Supplement for Residential Care, and the
Dementia and Cognition Supplement and
Veterans' Supplement in Home Care were all
under-subscribed by a total of $34 million.
The documents showed that at March 2014,
just 72 veterans had received the Veterans'
Supplement in Home Care, while less than 5,000
home care clients with a cognitive impairment
had received the relevant supplement.
Labor's spokesperson on ageing Shayne
Neumann told AAA he was concerned the
supplements were not being accessed by those
who needed them.
Senator Rachel Siewert Australian Greens
spokesperson on ageing said she would be very
concerned if the government sought to use the
under-subscription to reduce funding available
to aged care providers.
Industry stakeholders said the processes for
claiming the supplements were confusing and
cumbersome, and likely acted as a disincentive
to claiming them.
Illana Halliday, CEO of Aged and
Community Services NSW & ACT, said the
problem with the Veterans Supplement in Home
Care was that it was too complex for both
consumers and providers.
Other stakeholders reported a lack of
awareness, available nursing staff to conduct
assessments and varying departmental
response times in the approval or non-approval
of applications for the Dementia and Cognition
Supplement in Home Care as issues.
In response to questions from AAA, Senator
Mitch Fifield said the figures based on an
estimate at March 2014 and "did not represent
full financial year expenditure."
While there is often a delay in the uptake rate
of new supplements, "preliminary indications
show that expenditure for the full year is more in
line with estimates," he said.
He said he anticipated that expenditure for
the Veterans' Supplement would increase over
the forward estimates. At 1 October 2014,1,700
veterans had provided consent for the release of
their information to allow payment, he said.
symptoms that still require
Some clinicians that advised
the department argued that
improving services at lower levels
of need would help to reduce
the number of resident with very
severe BPSD. n
www.australianageingagenda.com.au | 11
Shayne Neumann Rachel Siewert
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