2019 Election Meals On Wheels

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14th May 2019

Dear Miles

Meals on Wheels urgently needs your help

The financial and social contribution of Meals on Wheels to Australian communities is too valuable to compromise. We need your support to ensure that decisions made about the future of community aged care secure the sustainability of Meals on Wheels.

As the Interim State Manager of Queensland Meals on Wheels, our member services provide access to meals services to over 12,000 older Australians and their families in Queensland.

We provide front-line prevention through our delivery of essential nourishment to older people, along with critical social connection and peace of mind for families.

We play an active role in the community, one that is founded on deep and trusted connections. We are often the glue that holds older communities together and we keep people actively engaged in their communities as volunteers.

Our organisation strives hard to offer a cost-effective solution, but we need your help.

We seek your support to address the imbalance in funding within and between states and community care programs. This imbalance can be fixed by increasing the Commonwealth Home Support Program meal unit price to equal the current minimum contribution provided by Home Care Packages.

We also need to make access to meal services simpler and timelier. The benefits of streamlining the entry process are significant as it ensures the continued delivery of low-level services as an efficient and value for money solution

As a Candidate for the May 2019 Federal election, our organisation of committed staff and volunteers would like to know where you stand on these two key issues.

You may not be aware that the Meals on Wheels operates in over 500 locations, with 76,000 volunteers. We nourish, care and support over 120,000 older Australians every year.

Please find attached our issues paper “Where do you stand on ease of access to meals for Australians in need?”

I would welcome contact with your office to discuss our needs in more detail.

I also invite you to visit our local member service to hear from the staff and volunteers and meet the people we support by delivering a meal. You will quickly see the difference Meals on Wheels makes every day.

We do need your help - I look forward to your response as soon as possible.

With best wishes for your campaign.

Yours sincerely
Evan Hill
Interim State Manager

Where do you stand on ease of access to meals for Australians in need?

Key Issues
Care at home - future of CHSP uncertain
• Meals on Wheels effectively meets high volume, low intensity needs at a low investment per consumer.
• Three quarters of people accessing Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) meals approach Meals on Wheels first.
• Meals provide a non-threatening, acceptable point of entry to the service system.
• Reablement is aligned in its entirety to the Meals on Wheels offering.

Current system is rigid
• The current system has an over-complicated entry process for a large number of older people with no impact on allocative efficiency but inconvenience and potential reduction in dignity for consumers.
• Ensuring the provision of streamlined and simplified access for the 76% of CHSP users who only use one or two service types is a priority.
• People with basic service needs should experience a broad and shallow eligibility and screening assessment and not a comprehensive assessment.
• CHSP meal funding is restricted to $4.70 per meal output, in most states, with limited funding for other food services, social support or allied health. Increasing social participation and inclusion
• Our mission is founded on the principle that people choosing our services are experts in their own lives and needs.
• Services are volunteer based and organised at a local level where community ownership is high.
• We provide social contact and monitor consumers’ health, wellbeing and safety.
• We support older Australians to remain active social participants both as clients and as volunteers.

Provision of critical nutrition to older people
• Meals on Wheels provides solid nutritional and social outcomes, based on a national and international, evidence-based service model.
• Meals on Wheels supports the ability for people to self-register and self-screen. The outcome of the self-screen could be face-to-face assessment or, for simple needs, expedited access to a provider. This ensures prompt provision of nutritious meals for older people.
• Meals on Wheels is committed to reablement, including teaching and supporting people to cook, however the funding structure is rigid, and the program rules work against it.

What We Are Seeking
Equity
• Equity in consumer contributions within CHSP and between CHSP and Home Care Packages (HCP), through an increase in government contribution for CHSP meal services.
• Address the significant funding inequity between states by increasing the CHSP meal unit price to equal the current minimum contribution from Home Care packages of $9.75 per meal unit.

Certainty
• A commitment from government to continue block funding meal provision after June 2020.
• Recognition that some community support services, including meals, ought to be directly accessible and available to senior Australians along the service continuum. Meals should be excluded from HCP, just as pharmaceuticals and medical services are.
• A determination on the consumer’s capacity to pay, and how much, should occur at the time of registration and eligibility screening.
Streamline system access
• Ensure that service access is simplified for those requiring meal services.
• Expedite access to basic, low level services as an efficient and value for money solution.
• Improve system navigation to facilitate first point of connection with Meals on Wheels providers.
• Ensure timely provision of services to those with simple basic needs to avoid deterioration and escalation of needs and priority.
• Adopt the 2011 Productivity Commission recommendation in which consumers access services directly from the meal provider or are connected immediately after registration and screening.
• Eliminate duplication of assessments.

Fast Facts
• 120,000 Australians receive a meal annually
• 10,000,000 meals are delivered annually
• 76,000 volunteers
• 500 local services across Australia

Consumer Profile
• 85 years and over - 40%
• 76 to 85 years - 40%
• 70-75 years - 5%
• Under 70 years - 15%

Function
• Supports fundamental human rights
• Develops communities
• Promotes independence
• Promotes wellness
• Prevents social isolation
• Provides early intervention
• Reduces loneliness
• Reduces decline in functional capability
• Offers choice and control
• Provides services tailored to local communities

Meals on Wheels Nourishes
• Contributes to prevention and early intervention of malnutrition.
• All services seek to comply with National Meal Guidelines.
• 30% of meals delivered are episodic.
• 70% of meals are delivered regularly.
• Supports people with special & complex dietary requirements.

Meals on Wheels Connects
• Connects and strengthens communities for clients, volunteers and broader community.
• 66% of participants rate social contact as equally important as the meal ‘Grant & Jewell 2014’.
• Supports Wellness and Reablement.

Meals on Wheels Enables
• Older Australians to stay in their homes & be independent.
• People to participate in food preparation training.
• Our trusted friendly staff and volunteers monitor the health and wellbeing of those they service and provide peace of mind for family members.

Queensland Meals on Wheels Ltd, 1300 90 97 90, www.qmow.org

Response

Didn't respond to this one --Miles w (talk) 12:59, 21 May 2019 (AEST)