He’s Not Benjamin Button!

Readers may recall I have written about my frustrations with the My Aged Care system before.  If you’re so inclined you can read all about it here (Part I), then Part II, then Part III, a story of Hope and Redemption, and Part IV here  (I kid you not).  My Aged Care is not user-friendly.  I still maintain that whenever we read about emergency services finding an elderly person dead in their own home, we should just assume that they didn’t have a daughter to make calls for them and that they died either waiting on hold at My Aged Care, or for a home care package to become available.

Dear Old Dad has a level 2 Home Care Package which gives him about 5 hours a week care.  A lovely woman comes twice a week and takes him to the shops, chemist, barber, library (not each time obviously) and manages to fit in a game of scrabble once a week.  She even wins occasionally, much to Dad’s horror.  I suspect her of practising online in between visits.  I like that.

Anyway…some months ago, Dad had yet another ACAT assessment and was assessed as being eligible for a level 3 home care package.  Part of this, I read in the report, was due to high levels of carer stress.  Remind me not to play poker.

Shortly after this the Federal Budget was announced and contained more funding for home care packages.  Excellent, I thought.

Because of holidays and visits from his brother, we were not using up all the hours allocated under the level 2 package and had a ‘pool’ of hours we could utilise while we waited.  So we did.

Today, I rang My Aged Care to check on progress.  Here is how the conversation went after the usual pleasantries and identification process:

MAC – “There is currently a 12 month waiting list”

(pause while this sinks in)

ME – “Really?”

MAC – “Yes”

ME – “Dad is 96 next month – he has to wait almost 18 months in total to get a level 3 home care package?  He will be 97. That can’t be right”

(pause while MAC representative no doubt rolls his eyes, and points at the phone to his colleagues and mouths ‘we got another one’).

MAC – That is the wait time at the moment, unless he has deteriorated.

(Me, in my head, screams ‘well he’s not Benjamin Button getting younger, healthier and fitter each month you moron’.  He’s 96 next month)

ME – “Well he is becoming more frail and unsteady on his feet.”

MAC – “Well I can organise another ACAT assessment to get his package updated. This will take approximately six weeks”

(me, rolling my eyes so far that I can see the back of my head)

ME – “Right.  Even though he has been assessed as level 3 he needs another assessment during which he will be asked the same questions AGAIN to get the same result”

MAC – “That’s our process”

ME – “Fine”

(This is a male to whom I was speaking.  I don’t think he realises that when a woman says ‘fine’ nothing is actually fine at all).

MAC – “let me just put you on hold while I do this”

…10 minutes later..

MAC – “Ok, that’s all done.  Is there anything else I can do for you?”

ME – ‘Nothing.  There is literally NOTHING My Aged Care can do for me.  But thank you”

MAC – “you’re welcome”

Phone calls followed to the Aged Care Assessment Team, Five Good Friends, my local Federal MP, my sister ( regular listener to post MAC phone call rants).

And it’s too early for wine.