Steps to Accessing a Home Care Package

on the Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Australian Government’s Home Care Package Programme provides a range of home care services to help you independently live in your own home for as long as possible.

Through the Home Care Package Programme, you can tailor a care package to suit your needs. The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) provides entry level and basic care services and the Home Care Package Programme is more comprehensive – offering a tailored care program for people with needs that require a higher level of care.

A wide range of care services are available with a Home Care Package including:

  • Domestic duties: washing, ironing, house cleaning
  • Basic home maintenance: gardening, home modifications
  • Transport to appointments, shopping and social activities
  • Personal care: showering, dressing
  • Nursing and allied health services
  • Care co-ordination
  • Case management

There are four levels of Home Care Packages:

  • Level 1: supports people with basic care needs
  • Level 2: supports people with low-level care needs
  • Level 3: supports people with intermediate care needs
  • Level 4: supports people with high care needs

Each package level receives a different amount of funding. The funding is paid to your home care provider by the Australian Government.

Home Care Packages can be tailored to suit your individual care needs. You will be able to work in partnership with your home care provider to create a care plan just for you enabling you to get the most out of your care.

The process of accessing a Home Care Package can be simple if you follow these steps:

  1. Check your eligibility
  2. Find a suitable Home Care Package provider
  3. Work out the costs
  4. Accept a Home Care Package
  5. Begin your home care services

1. Check your eligibility

To find out if you are eligible to a Home Care Package, you will need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT – ACAS in Victoria). This assessment will determine whether you have high or low-level care needs.

ACATs are an Australia-wide service and are based in hospitals and the local community. The assessments are free.

The ACAT will also determine whether you are eligible to receive Australian Government subsidised aged care services.

An ACAT will:

  • Assess and approve your eligibility for home care
  • Provide you with information about home care services in your local area
  • Help you access the care you need
  • Help you access residential respite care if needed

The ACAT will approve you as eligible for either low-level (Level 1 or 2 package) or high-level care (level 3 or 4 package). You will receive a written confirmation to advise you of the assessment outcome, the level of care you are eligible for and an overview of that care. It’s important to make sure you keep a copy of these documents.

Click here to find an ACAT/ACAS location near you.

2. Find a suitable Home Care Package provider

Once you have received your ACAT approval, you will need to search for a home care provider who can provide a Home Care Package to you.

If you want to find your own home care provider, you can use Aged Care Online’s comprehensive directory. Click on your state below to begin your search for home care providers in your local area:

Aged Care Online’s directory will provide you with an overview of home care providers in your area, the services they offer as well as their contact details. Each home care provider is different so it is recommended you meet with them to discuss your care needs.

It is important to note that there may be a waiting period between the ACAT approval and the time that you are offered a Home Care Package by a provider.

3. Work out the costs

The Australian Government subsidises a range of aged care services in Australia. If your financial circumstances allow, it is expected that you will contribute towards the cost of your care.

Any fees and eligibility for Government subsidies will be discussed and agreed upon with your home care provider before you begin to receive your services.

There are two types of fees you can expect to pay when accessing a Home Care Package:

  • A basic daily fee

Regardless of your income, you will be asked to pay a basic daily fee. If you are unable to pay all or part of the basic daily fee, you can discuss reducing it with your home care provider. Keep in mind that this will reduce the available funds in your package budget.

The maximum basic daily fee is currently 17.5 per cent of the single person basic Age Pension. This rate increases on 20 March and 20 September each year in relation to changes to the Age Pension.

  • An income-tested care fee

Depending on your income, you may be asked to contribute more to the cost of your care in addition to the basic daily fee. There are daily, annual and lifetime limits on the amount of income-tested care fees you have to pay. Full pensioners cannot be asked to pay an income-tested care fee.

Fees are payable for every day you hold a Home Care Package and paid fortnightly or monthly. You will receive a monthly statement that shows how your budget is being spent.

4. Accept a Home Care Package

Your chosen home care provider will determine whether they are able to provide you with a suitable package. The provider will work with you to tailor a care plan based on your goals, preferences, assessed care needs and an individualised budget.

Your individual care plan may include:

  • The care and services you will receive
  • Who will provide which services
  • How much involvement you will have in managing and coordinating your services
  • When your services are delivered
  • How much you will pay

Once you have a home care provider, you will enter into a Home Care Agreement. This agreement is between you and the home care provider and sets out how your Home Care Package will be provided to you.

5. Begin your home care services

Once you have a Home Care Agreement, an individual care plan and a budget, your care and services can begin.

Your Home Care Package starts on the day you sign your Home Care Agreement.

If your care needs change, your provider can review your care plan and budget. If your care needs have increased, you may need to request a reassessment by your local ACAT/ACAS.

Click here to begin your search for home care services in Australia.

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