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Thursday, 7 June 1984
Page: 2759

Senator KILGARIFF —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Will the Minister review the guidelines under which residents of some nursing homes who leave their beds to stay with relatives or friends for more than one night per month are forced to pay an amount equivalent to the Commonwealth nursing home benefit, or to lose the right to retain their beds? In particular, will the Minister consider under some circumstances increasing the number of nights that nursing home residents can leave the homes without incurring any cost or the risk of losing their beds? Does the Minister acknowledge the hardship this is causing for families who cannot afford to meet this cost and so are forced to leave relatives, and in some cases their children , in nursing homes for extended periods, despite the obvious benefits of a disabled person having contact with the family?

Senator GRIMES —I can tell Senator Kilgariff that I have already referred that matter to the Minister for Health. I heard Senator Kilgariff speak about this during the non-contentious debate period at lunchtime today, when he asked me to do the same thing. I will get an answer as soon as possible.