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Monday, 15 October 1973
Page: 2127

Mr Bourchier (BENDIGO, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that many patients of Homes for the Aged Blind are considered as ambulant patients because they can walk about or sit up even though they require constant intensive care due to their affliction and are incapable of looking after themselves.

(2)   Will he investigate the position with a view to allowing all residents in Homes for the Aged Blind to be classified as intensive care patients.

Mr Hayden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) Under the provisions of the National Health Act, those patients in approved nursing homes who need and receive intensive nursing home care are entitled to a higher rate of nursing home benefits.

In determining eligibility for this higher rate of benefit, regard is had to whether the patient is wholly or substantially dependent on nursing care. While blindness in itself is not considered sufficient to warrant intensive nursing home care, a blind person who is incapable of looking after himself and is wholly or substantially dependent on nursing care, is considered to be an intensive nursing home care patient. A sympathetic approach is adopted when an aged blind patient is suffering from some concurrent illness.

It is necessary for the proprietor of a nursing home to make application in respect of any patient who, because of his condition, is- provided with intensive nursing home care.

I am informed that for the year ended 30 June 1973 intensive nursing home care patients constituted approximately 47 per cent of all nursing home patients throughout Australia. In contrast with this figure the ratio of approved intensive nursing home care patients at the Homes for the Aged Blind at Bendigo and Ballarat, Victoria, for the months May to July 1973 were approximately 94 per cent and 71 per cent respectively.

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