Your health and support needs are likely to change and fluctuate, so your care plan should change with it
Your provider should be reviewing your care plan at least once a year
If you require higher levels of care, you will need to be reassessed
If you are receiving assistance from private home care providers or from Government funded home care services, like the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) or a Home Care Package (HCP), it is likely you accessed these services to get that extra support around the home, whether it be for health reasons or simply to make life easier.
However over time your needs might change. Your independence may grow so you need less supports. Or your health could decline and you require more or different types of care.
It is vital that you monitor your own needs and take stock of what assistance you really require at home. This is where a review of your care and services can really help.
When do I need to review my care plan?
If your health needs change, then you need to review your current services and adapt to these changes. This could mean the addition of new supports you require or removing services that no longer suit your needs.
Reviewing your care plan could even mean a change of providers if your current provider can't meet your support needs.
For example, you have been receiving a Level 2 HCP for two years but your mobility has recently decreased over the last year, so you would like to receive supports that can better assist with this. Or perhaps you want to reallocate your funding into other areas since you don't need as much help with meal planning and would prefer extra transport assistance to get out in the community.
Your care plan with your provider should be tailored around you and your needs, this includes your own personal goals. During a review of your care plan, you may want to review those goals and set new ones.
Personal goals could include maintaining a healthy lifestyle or achieving mobility independence, which can guide your decisions around care and the services you want.
Organising a review meeting
Your first step to revising your care plan is to contact your provider and ask for a care plan and budget review meeting.
Providers do have a responsibility around care reviews. They are required to monitor and review the services you receive to make sure you are provided with the best care possible and continue to meet your individual needs and goals.
Your provider should be organising a care plan review at least every 12 months to assess if your needs have changed and what different services you may benefit from.
To prepare yourself for this review meeting, put together a list of ways you have improved since you started receiving support and areas you are concerned about in regards to your health and wellbeing. Also write down any goals you would like to achieve as well as any changes you would like to make to your care plan.
After having this review, make sure your providers give you a copy of any agreed changes to the care plan for your own records.
Keep in mind that your care plan and budget allocation cannot be changed by a provider without your permission, they do need your agreement on any changes.
Bigger care level changes
If you have experienced a decline in your health and low level care needs are not providing enough assistance, then you will need to be reassessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/S) to determine if you are eligible for higher levels of care.
For example, if you want to move off basic home care support from the CHSP, you will need to be reassessed by an ACAT/S. To move between different Home Care Package levels, you will also need to be reassessed.
If you are accessing private home care services, any changes to your care will need to be negotiated with your private provider.
If you are already receiving a Level 4 HCP, this may mean it is time to consider other options, including:
Reviewing your care plan for alternatives and priorities, like reducing higher cost services, such as weekend supports, so you can free up funds for additional support and replace it with informal care
"Topping up" your current services with additional private services and paying those out of your own pocket
Consider moving into residential care
Incorporate short-term respite care services more often with your current plan
An increase in needs or requirements for specific services may mean that your current provider is unable to provide those services or offer a higher level HCP support. If that is the case, you may need to switch to a provider who can meet your new needs.
Take the time to research for a provider that can provide the support you require. To learn more about choosing a new home care provider, read our article on the Aged Care Guide.
You will receive a new referral code when you get reassessed which you need to give to your current provider, if you are not moving providers, or your new service provider.
Also, keep your provider updated about the upcoming of your reassessment and if there is a need for change of services.
You will also need to agree to a start date to switch to your new package. Depending on availability, it may be a longer wait to receive your new package.
How did your support needs change during your time receiving home care services? Tell us in the comments below.