Home Care Packages

Making Them Work For You

What Is A Home Care Package?

For many elderly Australians, a Home Care Package is the key
to being able to age at home, in the comfort of a familiar
environment.

Home Care Packages are consumer-directed which means you
can choose the services and providers that work best for you.

Home Care Package subsidies support you to continue living at
home and staying connected to your community, often
avoiding, or delaying, moving into a nursing home.

A Home Care Package (HCP) through The CareSide upholds
your rights, supports your autonomy and enables you to follow
your own schedule enjoying full independence as you age.

How Much Is It Worth?

The value of your Home Care Package depends on your eligibility level.

There are four levels, and each includes a specific amount of government-subsidised funding.

The subsidy funding, combined with your own income-based contributions, add up to the total amount you can spend with a provider of your choosing for the services you need. 

Some people may be eligible for additional Government funded supplements that provide extra funding for specific care needs such as people living with dementia or cognition issues, Veteran’s and those people requiring oxygen services or assistance with enteral feeding.

The subsidy amounts are adjusted annually. Here are the funding amounts as of July 1, 2023:

The Ultimate Guide To Home Care Packages

If you would like comprehensive reference information on how to get more from your Home Care Package, then our Ultimate Guide To Home Care Packages has all of the information that you need.

As well as including more detailed information on topics discussed on this web page, the guide also includes information on:

  • Whether to Self-Manage your care or not;
  • Services and equipment allowed to be included in a Home Care Package;
  • Managing Home Care Package Services;
  • The requirements of the Home Care Agreement;
  • Dispute resolution; and
  • Changing providers.

Get The Ultimate Guide To Home Care Packages.

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What Fees Are Involved?

Most people will need to pay a fee out of their own income, in addition to the amount paid by the subsidy.

If you are a self-funded retiree or if you receive a part-pension, then you’ll need to pay an income tested fee. This is based on your income and can’t be waived.

Some providers also charge a daily care fee, but this is optional and can be waived by the provider. The CareSide always waives the daily care fee.

What Supplements Are available?

If you need particular types of special care, you may qualify for funding supplements which are added to your existing subsidy.

For example, if you live in a rural or remote area, you may qualify for a viability supplement due to the higher cost of care. If you are low-income, you may be able to receive a hardship supplement to cover your fees.

Depending on your health needs, you could also qualify for a dementia and cognition supplement, an oxygen supplement, or an enteral feeding supplement.

Veterans with a mental health condition also qualify for an 11.5% supplement.

Who Is Eligible?

Home Care Packages (HCP) are for both elderly Australians
and younger individuals with more complex needs to help them
stay at home.

Age eligibility includes people aged 65 years or older, or 50
years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
People younger than this will need to test their eligibility with
the National Disability Insurances Scheme (NDIS) first.

To test for HCP eligibility, people register with My Aged Care
answering questions to help with assessing need. They then
undertake an assessment with a registered agency. If a person
is determined eligible for a Home Care Package, they will be
approved for a package and registered in the Australian
Government’s national priority system.

Approved applicants will be notified when a package becomes
available and at this time engage an approved provider such as
The CareSide.

When Can I Receive It?

There is usually a waiting time for a Home Care Package. After
your eligibility is approved, your wait time will start from the
date on your approval letter. This is a good time to start
researching providers.

Your letter will also include your priority level, which is
determined by the assessor based on how urgently you need
care. 

However, you may opt to receive an interim package, which
provides you a lower level of subsidy while you stay on the
waiting list for your approved level or you may be able to
access the Commonwealth Home Support Programme to help
with basic level of care.

How Can I Get A Home Care Package?

To receive your Home Care Package, you’ll need to check your
eligibility for an assessment. This is done through My Aged
Care. It can be done directly by you or your authorised
representative on-line or by telephoning their contact centre on
1800 200 422.

If progressing to an assessment, this is completed by a
member of an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). They will
determine whether you’re eligible for a home care package and
what level package you qualify for.

What is an ACAT?

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Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT) are teams of health
professionals such as nurses or allied health professionals who
assess people for eligibility and level of need for Australian
Government aged care funded services including home care
and residential care.

ACAT assess a person’s physical, psychological, medical,
restorative, cultural and social needs to help them and their
carer access appropriate levels of support. An ACAT assessor
will complete any assessments in partnership with you. ACAT
assessments are provided free of charge, that is they are fully
funded by the Government.

The ACAT Process

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Register your interest in being assessed for a home care
package through My Aged Care

An ACAT assessment is a comprehensive assessment of your needs completed in your home.

When the ACAT assessor comes, if you have any information
you think is important, please have it ready to share. This may
include hospital discharge papers, medication being taken and
family contact details.

Being Assigned a Home Care Package

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About two weeks after your ACAT visit, you’ll receive your eligibility letter telling you the results of your assessment. Your letter includes four things:

  • Your assessment decision
  • The package level you’re approved for and your priority level
  • An explanation of the reasons for the decision; and
  • A copy of your written care plan

Your letter also contains contact information for your Aged CareAssessment Team.

If you want to appeal your decision, contacting them is the first step. If you disagree with your eligibility decision, you can use the information in your letter to appeal, especially if any of the information in the explanation section is inaccurate.

When you can begin receiving care depends on two things: the date of your approval letter and your priority level.

Your wait time begins from the date of your letter, and how long you’ll need to wait depends on your priority level, as well as the package level you’ve been assigned. Wait time can vary from a few months to over a year.

When you have three months to go till your care begins, you’ll receive a second letter, notifying you of the date that your package will begin. Three months later, you’ll get one more letter to begin your care. This letter will include your referral code, which is the only thing you’ll need to access services.

If you don’t begin services within 56 days after getting your referral code, your package will expire.

Therefore, it’s importantto begin researching providers and choosing the ones you want to use no laterthan the time of your three-month letter. It can take some time to find the right provider for all the services you need, and you can begin that process assoon as you know your eligibility.

Where To Look For A Provider

Your Home Care Package uses a philosophy of consumer-
driven care, which means you can choose any provider you
want for your approved services.

This means you can find a provider who’s a good fit for you, but
it also means that finding a provider is your responsibility.

You can choose your own provider but to use your Government
subsidised funds you will have to choose an approved provider,
such as The CareSide.

Approved providers must meet national care standards which
includes upholding and valuing your individuality, helping you
plan for your care and services and managing your payments.

You can search for an approved provider directly through the
government website at My Aged Care. You can use consumer
sites with different search and filter functions, such as Aged
Care Guide and Aged Care Online.

 

Differences Between Providers

What do you need to consider when choosing a provider?

The choices can be overwhelming, so start with the basics: you’ll need a provider in your area who offers the type of service you need.

Consider the provider’s available hours and sample packages, and compare this to your ACAT written care plan. Find several providers who can meet your basic needs, and create a short list.

The wait time for a Level 1 interim package is 3-6 months, and you can use that while you wait for yourhigher level package to become available.

Once you’ve narrowed down the possibilities, evaluate the providers by more specific criteria.

Do you need a care provider who speaks another language, or would you like one who understands your culture? Do you want a provider who’s familiar with gay and lesbian families, or a provider associated with a particular religious affiliation? Do you want the same carer each time? Do you want the carer to arrive at a specific time, or is a 4 hour window of arrival acceptable?

Considerations like these will help you identify the provider who will be the best fit for you.

Pitfalls When Choosing a Home Care Provider

Just as you have the right to choose a provider, approved
providers have choices in how they structure fees and services.
There’s a wide variety of pricing and fees among approved
providers, so it’s important to research carefully to make sure
the provider you choose is the right fit for you.

Pricing can vary widely among providers, even when their
official pricing structures look comparable.

The Government has made changes to improve transparency
of fees charged meaning its more difficult for providers to
charge ‘hidden fees’. Hidden fees can cost you significantly and
its o’kay to ask any approved provider of their fee structure.

Approved providers including their fees can be compared on
the My Aged Care website Compare Providers page.

The Ultimate Guide To Home Care Packages

If you would like comprehensive reference information on how to get more from your Home Care Package, then our Ultimate Guide To Home Care Packages has all of the information that you need.

As well as including more detailed information on topics discussed on this web page, the guide also includes information on:

  • Whether to Self-Manage or not;
  • Services and equipment allowed to be included in a Home Care Package;
  • Managing Home Care Package Services;
  • The requirements of the Home Care Agreement;
  • Dispute resolution; and
  • Changing providers.

Get The Ultimate Guide To Home Care Packages.

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