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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4520 ..

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member's question is:

(1a) Respite Care

The 2002 - 03 Budget provided $1 million for additional respite services across all areas of respite. This Budget initiative highlighted the need to undertake the Review of Respite Care Empirical Needs Study prior to allocating recurrent funding to meet gaps in service provision. This study is in the process of being undertaken by Enduring Solutions under contract to ACT Health. This study will cover both Territory and Commonwealth funded programs. The aim is to identify met and unmet need and to better coordinate existing respite care models. A respite care reference group was convened by ACT Health to ensure that all stakeholders were consulted in the development of the study terms of reference. This group included both ACT and Commonwealth officers, community service providers, and carer groups. The final report is due in the first week of February 2003.

Early feedback from the respite needs study has identified access problems related to emergency respite care, respite for carers of people with mental health issues, people with challenging behaviours, and young adults and babies with high (non-hospital) medical needs. This is in part due to fragmentation within the sector and difficulties in locating available places. Another service gap appears to be in the area of education and training for care providers.

Non-recurrent funding to address these gaps will be released in the near future with recurrent funding to be considered following the final report of the Review of Respite Care Empirical Needs Study.

(1b) Convalescent Care

The 2002 - 03 Budget provided $600,000 for a step down facility and services to assist the return home of patients with special needs following an acute hospital episode. These funds together with ongoing funding from the 2001 - 02 Budget, have provided the following post hospital services:

� The Morling Lodge Transitional Care Centre project will be refunded for another 12 months with matched funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. This project is part of a nation-wide initiative looking at innovative ways to improve the interface between hospital and home for older people. Morling Lodge opened 11 beds in early November 2001 as part of the program. The program targets older people from Calvary and The Canberra Hospital who would benefit from up to six weeks restorative care before returning to their homes. Clients may extend their stay to 12 weeks if necessary. Overall there has been a steady flow of older patients from both public hospitals to the Centre thus reducing their length of hospital stay and increasing their potential to return to their own homes.

� Transitional Support Packages - Community Options (COPS) has been funded to provide integrated support services to people in need of assistance following discharge from hospital. These packages will provide care for up to 100 clients. Where relevant to the care needs of each individual, services are provided in a home setting and have included overnight care where necessary. The outcome of the program will be to assist

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