Home Care Packages
If you want to stay in your own home as you get older, but need some help with things like cleaning and preparing meals or, with transport so that you can go shopping or attend appointments, a Home Care Package may be for you.
What is a Home Care Package?
A Home Care Package provides a co-ordinated package of services tailored to meet your specific care needs. A Home Care Package provides services that can:
- help you to stay at home for as long as possible
- give you choice and flexibility in the way that care and support is provided to you.
The home care provider will receive funding from the Australian Government to provide services for you.
What types of services are provided?
The types of services provided under a Home Care Package will depend on your needs. Your home care provider will co-ordinate care and services to support you at home.
A range of services may be provided under a Home Care Package, including:
personal care – such as help with showering or bathing, dressing, mobility, meal preparation and eating
support services – such as help with washing and ironing, house cleaning, gardening, basic home maintenance, home modifications related to your care needs, and transport to help you do shopping, visit your doctor or attend social activities
clinical care – such as nursing and other health support such as physiotherapy (exercise, mobility, strength and balance) and podiatry (foot care).
You and your home care provider can also negotiate other services to support you to live at home where these are identified in your care plan. For example, you may benefit from some aids and equipment to assist with mobility, communication or personal safety. Whatever is agreed must be affordable within the funding available for the package.
How do I know if a Home Care Package is right for me?
Ask yourself these questions:
Are you an older person who needs some help to stay in your own home?
Are you struggling with some aspects of living at home, but you’re still able to manage most of the time?
Do you think if you don’t get some help at home, you might have to go into an aged care home before you’re ready?
Are you a younger person with a disability, dementia or other special care needs that are not met through specialist services?
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you may be eligible for a Home Care Package.
There is not a minimum age for accessing a Home Care Package, but you will need to be assessed as eligible by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). This is explained below.
What types of packages are available?
There are four levels of Home Care Packages which are designed to give you the care you need:
Level 1 supports people with basic care needs
Level 2 supports people with low-level care needs (equivalent to the former Community Aged Care Packages)
Level 3 supports people with intermediate care needs
Level 4 supports people with high-level care needs (equivalent to the former Extended Aged Care at Home and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia packages).
What if I have additional needs?
Supplements which are available to make sure you receive the care you need can include:
Dementia and Cognition Supplement
Veterans’ Supplement for veterans with service related mental health conditions accepted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Oxygen Supplement for people with an ongoing medical need for oxygen
Enteral Feeding Supplement for people who need enteral feeding on an ongoing basis.
These supplements are available with any of the four levels of Home Care Packages. If you are eligible, your home care provider will receive some extra funding to make sure you receive the care you need. You do not need to apply for these supplements. Your Home Care Provider will apply on your behalf, or in some cases, the supplement will be paid automatically to your provider.
What is a Home Care Agreement?
All people receiving care under a Home Care Package must be offered a Home Care Agreement. This is an agreement between you and your home care provider that sets out what care and services you will receive.
Any government funding will be paid to the home care provider. Your provider can then spend the funds on the items you both agreed to in the Home Care Agreement.
What is Consumer Directed Care (CDC)?
Some Home Care Packages will be delivered on a Consumer Directed Care basis. CDC is a new way of providing home care. It gives you more control and choice about the types of care and services you receive, how care is delivered and who delivers it to you.
Under CDC, you will determine the level of involvement you would like to have in managing your own package. You will be provided with a personalised budget so that you can see how much funding is available for services and how the money is being spent.
Initially, around 10% of Home Care Packages will operate on a CDC basis, but this will increase over the next two years. From July 2015, all Home Care Packages must be delivered on a CDC basis. Speak with your home care provider to see whether a CDC package is available.
How do I get a Home Care Package?
You will need to be assessed by a member of an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), or an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria, to receive help at home through a Home Care Package. Read more about ACAT assessments or find your local ACAT.
If you are assessed as eligible for a package, you will be put in touch with home care providers in your area. There may be a waiting period for packages in some areas.
Once you have been offered a package by a home care provider, they will help you plan your package based on your specific needs.
Who pays for Home Care Packages?
The Australian Government pays for the bulk of aged care in Australia, but as with all aged care services, you may be asked to contribute to the cost of your care.
Will my current care package be affected?
You may have previously been receiving services through a Community Aged Care Package (CACP), an Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) package, or through an Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) package.
If you were receiving one of these packages prior to 1 August 2013, you will still get the help you need, although your package will now have a different name. Your package will now been known as a Home Care Package.
CACP has become Home Care - Level 2
EACH and EACHD have become Home Care - Level 4
There is no need for a separate EACHD package as the Dementia and Cognition Supplement is available across all four package levels. If you were previously receiving an EACHD package, you will be automatically eligible for the Dementia and Cognition Supplement.
You will not need to be reassessed by an ACAT to continue receiving home care services. Your home care provider can discuss the transitional arrangements with you.
If you already have an ACAT approval for a CACP, EACH or EACHD package, but are waiting for a package, you do not need another ACAT assessment. Your existing ACAT approval will remain valid as an approval for a Home Care Package.