Demystifying Home Care Part 1

CDC, HACC, HCP, CHSP, RAS, ACAT....the list of acronyms goes on.  It's no wonder there is so much confusion out there about what home care options are available and how to access these.  This series looks to clear up the often confusing world of Senior Home Care.  Part 1 focuses on 4 common questions regarding home care options, accessing a government subsidy  and choosing a provider for your care services.

What are my options if I need some help to stay at home?

There are a number of different home support options available depending on the level of care you require, how long you need it for, whether you want to rely of government subsidised-services (read on for more information on those) or you'd prefer to fund private services or seek help from your personal networks.   It's important to note that these options are not mutually exclusive and in fact most people find using a combination of  these options gives them the best outcome.

What is a Home Care Package and how do I get one?

The Home Care Packages (HCP) program is a government subsidised program that provides long term care for older people who want to stay living at home.  There are 4 levels of HCP depending on the level of care and support required and each level receives a different level of funding.  To determine the eligibility and level of HCP, the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) needs to conduct a formal assessment on the person applying for the HCP.  The ACAT are professional health and community care clinicians who visit you at home to perform a comprehensive assessment to determine eligibility and level of HCP.  To arrange an ACAT assessment visit the My Aged Care website at http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/ or call them on 1800 200 422.

I've got a HCP - now what?

Depending on the level of Home Care Package that you are eligible for, depends on how much government subsidised funding you will receive.  This funding then translates into hours of care. With a HCP, the care services, and the providers that you choose to deliver them,  are up to you. 

What things should I consider when choosing a provider?

From February 2017, consumers have the choice to select their provider.  They can also change to another provider and take their government-subsidised funding with them. This means if you are not satisfied with cost, quality or reliability of the service you are receiving you can now change.  These changes, known as Consumer Directed Care (CDC) has created competition in the market.  You should use this to your advantage!!!  For example check what the "hidden costs" are that the provider charges.  Some of the common ones include "operating costs", "management fees", "case management fees" and in certain cases "exit fees" (if you are not satisfied with the provider and want to change to another provider).  It is worth negotiating the price of these as they will come from your HCP and ultimately reduce the amount of money available for your services.

Part 2 will answer commonly asked questions regarding finances, budgets and how to fund your home care needs.