Extra funding for aged care

Australia’s aged care sector will receive an additional $563.3 million in funding to boost its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Announced yesterday by the federal government, the funding builds on the $205 million COVID-19 Support Payment provided to all residential aged care providers back in June, injecting a further $245 million into nursing homes.

The funding is for providers to support enhanced infection control capability, including an on-site clinical lead.

It may also be used to address other COVID-19 related costs such as increased staffing, communications with families and managing visitation arrangements.

Providers must report how the extra funds were used for additional COVID-19 related costs through strict requirements in their end of financial year returns.

Providers will receive about $975 per resident in major metro areas and around $1,435 per resident in all other areas by early October.

The government will also provide more support to providers in hotspot areas to cover higher costs, especially supporting staff.

The Supporting Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 Grant, open since 4 August to help providers cover the costs of implementing single site workforce arrangements in current hotspots across Greater Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, will be extended at a cost of $92.4 million.

Further funding under the grant will be tapped into as new hotspots are declared.

The government has also pledged to provide a third Workforce Retention Bonus Payment based on employment at 30 November, costing $154.5 million.

The retention bonus will have the same eligibility criteria as the first two rounds (July and September).

The government will also expand support for older Australians who temporarily relocate from residential aged care facilities to the community to live with family due to concerns over COVID-19, providing an extra $71.4 million for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

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