Snowy Valleys Council residents now have representation and advocacy at the national level, through the recent appointment of Damian Reeves, Manager of Tumut District Community Transport, to the Care at Home Reforms Committee in Canberra.
The Care at Home Reforms Committee is part of the peak body for aged care, the National Aged Care Alliance, and is sponsored by the Department of Health. Damian said this presents a great opportunity for the region to ensure local community service users and providers have a voice on rural aged care and transport issues.
“I’m able to speak directly with national government and through national forums to influence change for improved services,” he said.
Damian is well aware of the problems in aged care in this region, including for those with in-home care packages approved by the government that have not been funded. He spoke out at the public meeting on health last month called by Eden-Monaro Member Mike Kelly, acknowledging the frustration many locals felt over health, transport and NDIS process and funding lapses.
In his experience, these are Damian’s three most useful pieces of advice when dealing with government support systems.
“If you, your family members, or friends, are offered a home support package you must accept it before the due date, even if it’s not at the funding level you hoped for or you will end up back at the queue,” he said.
“Secondly, when preparing a National Disability Insurance Participant Plan for NDIS funded supports, residents must realise, regardless of NDIS advice to the contrary, that the draft plan will be the final plan and you must cost everything fully, from transport to repeated expenses of medical treatment costs, on an annual basis.
“Thirdly, I stress that both NDIS and Home Care Packages support are designed for the recipient to choose themselves which service will deliver the supports – and that you can move the package or individual support providers to someone else if you are dissatisfied with the services quality in any way including transparency of fees being charged out of your package.”
He said the most effective way of dealing with unsatisfactory support is by firstly trying the relevant service provider, calling him on 6941 2591, or by calling the Commonwealth Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552.
Damian is also the Secretary of the NSW Peak Body for Community Transport services, and a Director of the National Australian Community Transport Association. He said his recent appointment to the National Aged Care Alliance brings to our region a unique opportunity for advocacy at senior Federal government levels.
“It is highly important that residents of rural and more remote areas like the Snowy Valleys district have an unbiased voice to bring their concerns to those government departments that control the policies, process and funding to a range of community services including Aged Care,” he said.
Damian strongly encourages anyone with concerns regarding aged care, the NDIS, or any other government support system to get in touch.
“I can direct both advice and representation to their concerns,” he said.
Damian can be reached on 6941 2591, or found at Tumut District Community Transport at 81 Capper Street, Tumut.