If the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) doesn't provide enough support, a Home Care Package can deal with your higher care needs
Consumers have more control over how they use their Home Care Packages and who delivers their care and services
Your package funds can only be used for care and services that benefit your health and wellbeing at home and in the community
There are four different tiers of Home Care Packages (HCP) available that you may be allocated depending on if you require basic, low or high care.
The Federal Government have updated the Home Care Package program so that consumers, like you, are more in control with what services they receive and from the providers they choose.
A HCP will be allocated to you personally and you can make decisions around services, who delivers them, and how involved you want to be in organising these services.
Types of packages available
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 level care needs
The same type of care and services are provided under each HCP level. The hours of care is increased at each level of care; more hours of care and services are delivered under Home Care Package level 4 compared to level 1.
Package supplements – the Dementia Supplement for people with dementia and the Veterans Supplement for veterans with an accepted mental health condition – are available with any of the four levels of Home Care Packages.
Some packages may be specifically for people who require more assistance. For instance, people who are financially or socially disadvantaged, people with housing needs or are at risk of becoming homeless, or people who live in rural, remote and isolated areas.
Your care provider will apply for the subsidies and ensure you meet the eligibility criteria.
There are aged care providers who may cater towards specific cultural backgrounds and may have staff that speak foreign languages.
This can be really beneficial for older people with a cultural background. Having a carer that can speak your mother tongue, understand you as a person, and know what you value can make receiving aged care services so much easier.
While some providers can cater towards different cultural backgrounds, all aged care providers are required to provide services to older people, no matter their cultural background.
Unlike services provided under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, which offers basic assistance, Home Care Packages offer a higher level of support if you have more complex needs.
To receive a Home Care Package you will need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/S). The ACAT helps the elderly, and their carers, determine what kind of care will best meet their needs when they are no longer able to manage on their own.
A member of the team, which may include a doctor, nurse, social worker, and/or other health professional, will meet with you to assess your care needs and how well you are managing at home.
They will identify the right services for your needs and the level of care you require.
The ACAT will give you a letter stating the types of subsidised services you have been approved for and might also put you in contact with organisations in your area that can deliver these services.
What services are provided?
Home Care Package services are based on your individual needs. Your provider coordinates the care and services to support you at home and these are agreed between you and your provider. The services may include:
Transport for shopping or appointments
Social support by taking you shopping, banking or just providing company for a chat
Domestic assistance for household jobs like cleaning, clothes washing and ironing
Personal care assistance with bathing or showering, dressing, hair care and going to the toilet
Home maintenance for minor general repairs and care of your house or garden
Home modification ie installing safety aids such as alarms, ramps and support rails
Nursing care where a qualified nurse comes to dress a wound or provide continence advice
Food services such as providing meals at a community or day centre, preparing and storing food and delivering meals to your home
Help with taking your medications
What you can't use your package for
All services you receive need to be providing you care or help around the home. There are a number of things that you are not allowed to spend package funds on, no matter the level of your package.
Using the package funds as a source of income for yourself
Purchasing food, unless you have enteral feeding requirements
Paying for your accommodation, like home purchases, mortgage repayments or rent
Payment of fees and charges for other types of care funded by the Australian Government
Any home modifications or capital items that don't assist any of your personal care needs
To fund your personal holidays, including travel and accommodation
Paying for entertainment activities like club memberships or buying tickets to sporting events
Paying for services and items that are already covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
How would a Home Care Package benefit you and help you stay at home independently for longer? Tell us in the comments below.