Catholic Health now backs nursing home bonds

Citing changed conditions, Catholic Health Australia has reversed its earlier opposition to the introduction of controversial nursing home bonds requiring high-care residents to raise $120,000 or more to get a place.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that CEO Francis Sullivan says the group will now back the latest attempt by the Federal Government to introduce the nursing home bonds which were first mooted in 1997.

The report says Catholic Health Australia will support the move on condition there are measures to protect the ill and disadvantaged.

Mr Sullivan told the Herald that the earlier responses were at a time the Government was cutting into other assistance for aged care.

"I do think the Government would now have wide support to broaden the capital charges for high care," Mr Sullivan said.

There was now the inequitable situation where well-off people in high care did not have to pay a bond, while those with modest means in low care had to put up the money, Mr Sullivan added.

A study by the influential National Aged Care Alliance, which is believed to reflect government thinking, has cited forecasts of an increasing shift in aged care funding from the government to consumers, and has proposed the bonds as an option to meet costs.

Cabinet is expected to consider within the next few weeks the scheme to extend the bond system to high-care nursing home residents.

At present, accommodation bonds can only be required from residents in low-care hostel-like accommodation, who have to put up bonds averaging more than $120,000 to nursing homes.

About 85 per cent of that amount is returned to the resident or the resident's estate after departure or death, the Herald says. The bonds are aimed at providing capital for nursing homes and are apart from the subsidies paid by the Government for daily running costs.

Photo: Nancy Borlase painting (Ray Hughes Gallery)

Nursing home bonds back on agenda (Sydney Morning Herald, 15/9/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Health Australia
Ray Hughes Gallery, Nancy Borlase paintings

Catholic Health supports scheme to protect aged care residents (CathNews, 16/9/05)
Nun incident highlights mental health care system neglect (CathNews, 6/4/05)
Catholic Health supports fair go for hostel residents (CathNews, 13/2/04)

15 Sep 2006