A Home Care Package can be an extremely useful tool for those who need access to care services from their own home. They are designed for older Australians with more specific or complex needs so that their care can be better tailored to their situation. There are many services available in Home Care Packages, and these services vary depending on the level of care required. In order to get the most out of a Home Care Package, it is important to have a complete understanding of how they function.
Step 1 – Eligibility
In order to access a Home Care Package, you must first be eligible. Your eligibility is determined by a number of factors, such as:
- a noticeable change in your physical and/or your mental state
- a diagnosed medical condition
- a change in situation i.e. family care arrangements
- a recent fall or visit to a hospital
Accessing a Home Care Package can only be achieved after completing an in person assessment, typically done at your home. You can use an Eligibility Checker before booking an assessment to see if you meet the necessary requirements.
Step 2 – Cost
The cost attached to your Home Care Package will vary depending on your care provider and your personal financial situation. In general, your Package will have a budget which will cover the cost of your care. Your budget will include Australian Government contributions in the form of subsidies and potential further supplements, as well as your own personal contribution. Your contribution will include:
- a basic daily fee
- an income tested fee (if applicable)
- any agreed additional fees
The government contributions change depending on the level of the Package, with additional supplements available for certain kinds of care. The best way to know if you are eligible for these additional supplements is to contact your care service provider. You can use a Fee Estimator Tool to gauge a rough price for the Package you are after, as well as to learn where you stand as far as the income tested fee.
Step 3 – Find a provider
Knowing the options available to you is essential in choosing a provider that best suits your situation. You should come up with a short-list of what you think you will need from a provider and then go looking for one that matches up. Items to consider include:
- your location and proximity to providers
- specific requirements i.e. language or cultural requirements
- how much are you able to spend
- can you cover any potential additional costs
- what quality of service will you demand
To find providers near you, you can use a Find A Provider tool. Once you have picked out a few different options, get in contact with their team and go over the services they offer and the costs attached. It is also important to know where and when they will be providing your service, as well as who will be providing your service.
Step 4 – Package available
If you have been deemed eligible for a Home Care Package, you will enter a waiting period while the approval process is conducted. Once complete, you will receive an approval letter containing your Package level and your approval date.
It is important to affirm that this Package will meet all of your needs and to once more go through what you will need from a provider. You should review your care plan with your family/support group and your provider before entering into an agreement. Once this is done, you can start to make use of your Home Care Package.
Step 5 – Making sure you’ve picked the right provider
Even if you have taken the time to do all the proper research and made an informed decision on your Home Care Package provider, it is possible that you won’t be fully satisfied. If you are moving locations, it is possible that you may move out of reach of your current provider. If this is the case, it is important to know how to change providers. You can make this change at any point in your plan, but it is important to check your Home Care Agreement for conditions such as notice periods and exit amounts.
You should find a new provider first before agreeing to an end date with your current provider. This is because once you reach your end date, you will have 56 days to enter a new agreement, otherwise your Home Care Package will be withdrawn.
Knowing A) that you can change providers and B) how to change providers will ensure that your provider continues to supply the quality of care that you need.
Step 0 – Start the conversation
Despite coming in here at the end, this really is the place to start. Having a conversation with your family/support group about the possibility of a Home Care Package is a great way to know whether it could benefit you. Exploring the option isn’t going to hurt. If the conversation is productive, the next step is to contact My Aged Care and request an Aged Care assessment, as well as inquire about accessing the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
If you or someone you know needs the support a Home Care Package can provide, then start the process today with a simple chat.