Home Care Packages
A Home Care Package can offer a variety of supports at home to assist you to live as independently as possible.
Funding provided to you through a Home Care Package is designed to keep you living at home for longer and engaging with the community, for quality of life and wellbeing.
The funding could be used for:
Personal care support for showering, dressing and going to the toilet
Assistance with shopping
Help with meal preparation or meal delivery
Assistance with garden maintenance
Help with cleaning
Respite care - for you and your carer
Home modifications for safety such as handrails and ramps
Transport to appointments
Social support for company
Help with taking medications
Nursing care through a visiting nurse who can dress wounds or provide continence advice
Packages come in four different levels of care; a Level 1 package supports people with basic care needs, a Level 2 package supports people with low level care needs, Level 3 supports people with moderate care needs and Level 4 supports people with high level care needs.
The same supports and services are available at each of these levels, but the hours of care provided increase as the levels increase.
A Home Care Package does not impact the amount you receive through the Age Pension, but if you are on a part pension you may be expected to contribute to some of the cost of your home care services.
To receive a Home Care Package you will need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS), which will tell you what supports will provide you with the best care.
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.
You can either have your package managed by a third party case manager - who will manage your invoices, budget, and advocate on your behalf for plan reviews - or you can have the package self-managed by you, a family member or a close friend.
More information about Home Care Packages is covered in our guide here.
Your package should be reviewed every 12 months, but if your needs change in that time and you need a new in home care plan you can contact your provider to ask for a review.
In depth information about reviews can be found on our website under the Home Care information section.
Search for Home Care Package providers near you by visiting www.agedcareguide.com.au/search/hcp/aus or call 1300 863 216 for financial planning advice around Home Care Packages.
Residential Aged Care
If you need more intensive care and support that can no longer be provided in your own home it may be time to move into an aged care home. Residential aged care facilities provide accommodation, as well as specific care and services to residents.
An aged care home can support you to live a fulfilling lifestyle when your needs can no longer be met at home in the community. You'll have your own space and access to professional staff that will help with all aspects of care.
Services could include assistance with personal care, meals, support with mobility and communication as well as social and recreational activities, to address the health, safety and lifestyle needs you have.
For example, your facility is likely to have a hairdresser available for regular appointments, entertainment areas for watching TV or performances by groups from outside the home, organised arts and crafts activities and visiting therapists or specialists, such as physiotherapists to help with your mobility.
There are shared spaces too, for meals or social interaction, and many opportunities to engage in activities and social connection with other residents - but also the choice to participate or not.
You will still be able to do activities outside the home that you attended before you moved in, such as spending time with friends and family in the community.
Your family may also take comfort in the fact that your safety and health are being looked after 24/7 and that they can still visit you regularly.
It could be the best option for you to move into an aged care home if you notice your needs aren’t being met by supports at home, or if your home care team, friends or family are concerned for your welfare at home and your care can’t be increased.
To apply for a nursing home you can fill out an online application form yourself, or hire a placement consultant to help you with the process.
You may have to wait for a bed vacancy to open up at the facility you choose before you can move in.
Generally, daily life in a nursing home will be easier for you and many residents have reported they actually enjoy an enhanced quality of life since they moved and have an improved social life.
You will have peace of mind that should anything happen, you will receive immediate attention and the situation will be managed well.
Aged care facilities can only receive Government funding to provide you with care if they are an accredited provider, which you can read more about in our article on accreditation of residential aged care.
Aged care homes come in many shapes and sizes and residential aged care fees also greatly vary. Understanding the cost involved and seeking advice from an aged care financial advisor can help minimise the cost while getting the best support outcome for your circumstances.
Call 1300 863 216 to connect with a financial advisor, or search for residential aged care facilities near you.
ACAT and ACAS Assessments
To access Government subsidised aged care services you will need to be assessed to determine what kind of care will best meet your needs. The Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) are staffed by doctors, nurses, social workers or other health professionals and they will meet with you to work out how much and what sort of help you require.
The service is known as ACAT across Australia, except for in Victoria where it is called ACAS.
There is also the sister-service Regional Assessment Service (RAS), but this is only for the lowest level of Government-funded home care support packages.
It’s a good idea to seek an assessment if you are finding it harder to live at home independently or have increased needs due to a newly diagnosed medical condition.
To start the ACAT, ACAS or RAS assessment process you need to register with My Aged Care - the agency which looks after all Government funded aged care programs.
All you need for the registration is to answer a few basic questions and to have your Medicare Card nearby.
Before looking into a My Aged Care assessment you might like to check whether you are eligible by reading our guide here.
An ACAT referral can also be done by a family member or friend, doctor, social worker or other health professional.
For an ACAT or ACAS assessment, which is done in person after your My Aged Care registration is complete, you will need:
Medicare card and a form of identification, for instance, Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) card, driver's licence, passport, or healthcare card
Notes or referrals from your doctor
Prepared questions and information about aged care that you wish to discuss with the assessor so you have a better understanding about services
Contact details for your doctor and any other health professionals you see regularly
Information on support you receive from others or from the community
You may also like to have a support person present for the assessment and should arrange a translator or Auslan interpreter if you need one.
The assessor will talk with you at home to determine whether you may be eligible for a Home Care Package provided in your own home, respite care or residential care in a nursing home, transition care services after a hospital stay, or Short Term Restorative Care.
After your assessment the assessor will discuss the results with you and the options that are available to you to get the help you need. They can also provide you with information to help you with your decision when looking for a service provider that can provide the best care for you.
Talk to an independent aged care consultant today about sorting out your queries by calling 1300 903 627 or read more about getting an aged care assessment here.
Read more about a range of topics about different services and care options.
Australia has a large aged care system that delivers differing levels of care for older people depending on their support needs and care requirements. This system is broken down into three areas - home care, residential aged care, and retirement villages.Read more
When sorting out your aged care service and facility options for yourself or an older loved one, your first point of call is registering yourself with My Aged Care.Read more