Industry Insights |
Accessing A Home Care Package
December 17, 2020
In our previous blog How Can You Access Care Services we discussed the types of entry level support available to help older people remain living in their own home longer. These supports are known as Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and include personal care, domestic assistance, transport, social support and respite care and are designed to provide entry level care to meet entry level care needs. But what happens if your care needs are greater than those available under the CHSP entry level support services? You may require a Home Care Package.
We know that as you age, your care needs may change as your health declines and in these instances, the entry level support services available under CHSP may not be enough to meet your individual needs.
The next level of care or support services you may be eligible for is a Home Care Package (HCP).
What are home care packages?
The Home Care Package program is a Government subsidised program that provides long term support to older people who want to remain living in their own home longer. A Home Care Package is broken into 4 levels of care need, and each level attracts a different government subsidy amount. The higher the care need or level, the higher the Government subsidy available under that Home Care Package, as follows:
Home Care Package Level 1: Basic care needs
Home Care Package Level 2: Low-level care needs
Home Care Package Level 3: Intermediate care needs
Home Care Package Level 4: High-level care needs
Accessing a Home Care Package
There are generally three stages to access a Home Care Package:
- Assessment: Once registered with the Government’s centralised information centre, known as My Aged Care (MAC), you will be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), to determine your eligibility and the level of care you require. ACAT will contact you and make arrangements to visit you in your home and have a comprehensive discussion with you about your health condition, your living arrangements, your support system and the care needs you have.
- Approved: Once ACAT deem you eligible to receive a Home Care Package, you will receive a letter in the mail, confirming you have been “approved” a Home Care Package. The letter will detail the level of care you have been approved to receive i.e. Level 1, 2, 3 or 4. From here, you will automatically be placed in the National Prioritisation Queue, until a Home Care Package becomes available for you. The length of time you may wait on the National Queue depends on how soon a Home Care Package vacancy becomes available. The National Queue is managed by My Aged Care and in many cases, the wait time can be 12+ months.
- Assigned: When a vacancy becomes available for you to access a Home Care Package, you will receive a letter to confirm a Home Care Package has been “assigned” to you. You will then have 56 days to accept your Home Care Package assignment before that vacancy is returned to the National Queue for another person to access. Due to the high demand for Home Care Packages, you may be assigned a Home Care Package below the level you were initially approved for. In this circumstance, you can access the lower level package while you wait for your higher level package to be approved.
Selecting a Home Care Package Provider
We recommend that you start “shopping around” for a Home Care Package provider is when you receive the letter confirming you have been “approved” for a Home Care Package. Determining the right provider can be time consuming and it is important you choose a provider that is going to meet your individual needs. Some things you may want to consider when researching Home Care Package providers include:
- What services are available with the provider?
- What is the provider’s administration and case management fee?
- What are the individual hourly rates for services you may require?
- What is the kilometre rate for transport services?
- Does the provider give you access to support and services 24/7?
- What is the provider’s exit fee?
NOTE: If you are in a situation where your care needs are not being met and having to wait for your Home Care Package is a detriment to your health and safety, you should contact My Aged Care to discuss your circumstance. Alternatively, you can call Be and we will be more than happy to assist you where possible.
What are home care agreements?
Once you have selected your preferred Home Care Package provider, you will be asked to enter into a Home Care Agreement with that provider. Your entry into the Agreement with the provider is an equal partnership. The Home Care Agreement will provide detailed information about your Home Care Package and the terms and conditions within, such as:
- What your Home Care Package will provide
- Service Price Schedule
- Exit fee amount including the notice period if you choose to exit
- Your rights and responsibilities and the providers rights and responsibilities
- Your individualised care plan
- Your Home Care Budget
- Any specific conditions or variations to the Agreement
Services under a Home Care Package
Once you’ve entered your Home Care Agreement, your provider will then work with you to create your individual care plan. This process will include the provider obtaining the appropriate information about you, to gain an accurate understanding of your individual needs, including discussion about your specific goals. Your provider will explain the types of services and support available to you under the Home Care Package. Some of the services include:
- Allied Health Care: physiotherapy, podiatry, massage therapy and exercise therapy
- Clinical Care: wound care, medication assistance, diabetes management
- Domestic Assistance: cleaning, washing and meal preparation
- Home Maintenance: repairing damage to your home
- Home Modifications: installation of ramps, handrails, tap fittings and security systems
- Personal Care: Grooming, showering, toileting, hygiene, mobility and dexterity and respite
- Social Support: companionship, recreational activities and accessing community
- Transport: accompanied or unaccompanied transport to attend appointments
- Specialist Care: cultural, religious, counselling services, dementia, palliative and other therapeutic care
- Purchases: wheel chairs, wheelie walkers, recliners, shower chairs and continence aids
Personal Case Managers
An important part of your Home Care Package is Case Management. Your provider will assign you your own specialised Case Manager to provide customised support to you while you are accessing the Home Care Package. Your Case Manager will provide support and assistance to:
- Ensure you understand your Home Care Package
- Ensure you have access to the services you need
- Ensure your Home Care Package services remain within budget
- Liaise with doctors, hospitals and other external stakeholders to ensure your care needs are being met
- Manage your concerns and answer any questions you may have, throughout the duration of your Home
- Care Package
Home Care Package Monthly Statement
Once you commence receiving services under your Home Care Package, your provider will issue you a monthly statement, detailing the expenses utilised within your Home Care Package budget. The monthly budget will have line items detailing:
- Your total Home Care Package value
- Description of services, support and purchase for the month
- The costs of each service, support and purchase
- Your remaining Home Care Package balance, including unspent funds
What is Consumer Directed Care (CDC)?
Consumer Directed Care is a model of service delivery designed to give more choice and flexibility to people receiving Aged Care Services. Recipients of a Home Care Package have more control over the types of care and services they access, including who will deliver the services. It is important for recipients of Home Care Packages to know; you have the right to make your own decisions. Whether that be in regard to the type of service you receive or selecting the provider to deliver the services you need. If at any point you feel your Home Care Package provider is not meeting your needs, you can opt to transfer your Home Care Package to another more suitable provider of your choice.
Be is more than happy to offer further explanation or assistance to those wanting to know more about Home Care Packages. Feel free to contact us at any time and we will be happy to help you.
Interested in a Home Care Package with Be?