An Investigation of Service Mix within the Home and Community Care Programme
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Given Australia's ageing population, the demand for Home and Community Care services is expected to escalate to unprecedented levels. A skilled and flexible aged care workforce, together with other broader aged care workforce planning needs, has become a priority at both the national and state levels. This study examined the Australian government's Home and Community Care program to identify regional differences in service hours received by clients and associations between services. Analysis was based on the Minimum Data Set of 2007/08 and confined to Queensland clients aged 18 and over. Investigations revealed that clients residing in regional and remote areas were more likely to receive nursing services but less likely to receive allied health services compared to those residing in a major city. This reflected the specific health professional to population ratio of the area. For clients residing outside the city, an inverse relationship existed between allied health and nursing hours. Possibly certain categories of staff supplemented the shortfall in other skilled labour present in regional and remote areas. The findings are part of the initial steps in examining the potential opportunities available to government in implementing skill mix reforms within the health sector.
© 2011 The Economic Society of Australia. Published by Blackwell Publishing. This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: An investigation of service mix within the Home and Community Care program, Economic Papers Vol. 30(1), 2011, pp. 60-76, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1759-3441.2010.00093.x.