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Home care packages: 7 things you should know

Most of us prefer to stay living independently at home as we age. Finding the right support to continue living life the way you want can sometimes be challenging. The government provides Home Care Packages with customised services and care to assist you to meet your needs and live at home safely and independently.

When it comes to Home Care, it’s not always easy to understand what is available and how to access. We’ve put together 7 essential things you should know about Home Care Packages, so you can learn more about your options.

What is a Home Care Package?

home-care-package-ach-group

The government provides two streams of funding to support you to stay living in your own home as you age.

The first stream is called Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) – an entry level program which gives you access to basic support services. The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) offers a variety of basic assistance such as cleaning, home maintenance, home modification, personal care, health services, exercise classes or support to maintain social networks to people aged 65 and over (50 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders).

As your needs increase, a Home Care Packages (HCP) may offer more support. A Home Care Package is, as the name suggests, a ‘package’ of services to support you to remain living in your own home. A Home Care Package can be accessed when you need more than basic support, and offers a coordinated approach with access to a greater range of services, aids and equipment.

If you are assessed as eligible for a Home Care Package, you will be placed in the national queue. When you reach the top of the queue, you will be assigned a package and you can then choose an approved care provider such as ACH Group to coordinate and deliver your services. Home Care Packages are allocated based on need, as determined by your ACAT assessment. There is a basic daily fee for Home Care Package services, and an income tested care fee may apply.

Here are the main differences between the two programs:

Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)Home Care Packages (HCP)
• Basic level care needs and support
• Services can be used to provide short-term intensive care
• Eligibility is assessed by the Regional Assessment Service (RAS)
• Higher level care needs and support
• Four levels of HCP (1–4), with each level receiving a different level of funding
• An Advisor supports you to develop a personalised care plan to put into action
• Eligibility is assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).

There is more to know about Home Care Packages…

There are four levels of a Home Care Package with different levels of care and funding.

Package levelLevel of care needs
Level 1Basic care needs – approximately $8,750 a year
Level 2Low care needs – approximately $15,500 a year
Level 3Intermediate care needs – approximately $34,000 a year
Level 4High care needs – approximately $51,500 a year

Source: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/help-at-home/home-care-packages

Your package level will be determined after your ACAT, which assesses your needs. This is called your ‘approval’ and you will join the national queue until a package of your level becomes available. Once you’ve been ‘assigned’ a Home Care Package, you can work with your care provider to personalise a care plan that suit your needs and optimise your plan to get the most out of your funding package.

You may need to go through a few steps to apply

Now that you understand what Home Care Package is and how it works, you may want to consider applying for one. Here are five simple steps you may need to go through in the application process:

Steps-for-home-care-packages

It can be confusing!

So often, people are confused about the differences between being ‘assigned’ and ‘approved’ for Home Care Packages.

If you have been assessed as needing a higher level of support by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), you will receive a letter stating that you have been approved for a Home Care Package (HCP).

At this point, if you wish, your name will be added to the national queue. It is important to note that after being approved for a Home Care Package, there may be a waiting period before you will be assigned a Home Care Package by the government. Once you receive a letter from My Aged Care stating that you have been assigned a Home Care Package and given a referral code, you can access your funded services.

How long do I need to wait?

As mentioned above, there is a waiting period before you are assigned a Home Care Package. How long it takes depends on what package level you are eligible for. Keep in mind how urgent someone needs care will also impact the waiting period.

Here is the approximate wait time for you Home Care Package to be assigned:

Package levelLevel of care needs
Level 13 – 6 months
Level 212+ months
Level 312+ months
Level 412+ months

Source: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/help-at-home/home-care-packages

If you are waiting and need services, please call ACH Group on 1300 22 44 77
as we may be able to help you access services under the Commonwealth Home Support Program or Customer Funded (Private Payment).

Home Care Packages costs

Is there any fee involved? The answer is yes. The budget for your home care package is made up of the following:

Government subsidies and any supplements will go to your selected care provider to spend on any care services you need. There is a basic daily fee that you must pay. This fee varies depending on the level of Home Care Package you receive.

If you are paid a pension that is not means-tested or if you are a self-funded pensioner, you need to lodge a Home Care Package Calculation of your Cost of Care Form (SA456). Income tested care fee varies depending on the financial information you provided. For home care, this does not include your family home or other assets. Use this fee estimator tool to see how much you may need to pay.

How to find the right provider?

Home-care-package-choosing-your-care-provider

Once you’ve received your Home Care approval, it’s time to choose a home care provider in preparation for when you are assigned a package.

Every provider is different and will offer a range of care services. When it comes to choosing the right one, list down your priorities. This could include any special care needs, your expectations, costs, values, and cultural background.

Everyone’s needs and goals differs. If you need special care to live well with dementia, look for care provider that specialises in Dementia care. Finding a care provider that matches your values is also important. When it comes to charges, consider using the fee estimator from the government website to help you understand the charges and services fees. Perhaps you may want to look for a care provider to support you live a good life independently, so you can be in control as you age.

One important thing to consider is if the service provider offers around the clock service. At ACH Group, we offer 24/7 phone assistance through customer service centre and access to nurse-on-call for peace of mind. Services that support your cultural needs such as having support workers that can speak your language. Having support workers that can speak your language and understand your cultural background can make a big difference to how comfortable you feel. Feeling safe and reassurance is important when you have your services delivered. Check your provider is approved, their accreditation history and overall reputation. All ACH Group workers are vetted and professionally trained to deliver services. Living and feeling safe in your own home is a priority and this will ensure you have reassurance you are in safe hands.