What is a Home Care Package?
A Home Care Package is an Australian Government funded initiative that provides support for older people who want to stay living at home.
There are four levels of support available and each level offers a different amount of funding (ranging approximately $8,000 to $50,000 per year). Some people can also access funding supplements (e.g. people with dementia, people who require enteral feeding, people living in rural and remote communities and people who require oxygen supplements).
If you’re over 65 (or 50 if you identify as having Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage) and think you need some extra support with daily tasks, you can apply for a Home Care Package via the My Aged Care website. Alternatively our friendly staff can also guide you through the process of applying for funding.
Eligibility is determined by a government body known as the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). Once allocated a Home Care Package you’ll need to choose a support provider, like Pinnacle Community Services. You will go into a national queue that is triaged based on your needs and how long you’ve been waiting. You may enter the program on a lower level than you have been assessed for initially. When your package is ready we will work with you to create an individual support plan that addresses your needs and goals.
Recent changes to Home Care Packages
For many years, funding for Home Care Packages was assigned to service providers. People who were eligible for support had few options in the way services were delivered and who could provide them.
The Home Care Package reforms mean that the format now falls under the banner of Consumer Directed Care (CDC) which gives clients more choice over their care plan and greater control over their funding and how it is spent.
Home Care Package funding is now ‘portable’, meaning that clients can choose their own Home Care Package provider and their funding will follow them should they ever switch providers or move to a new location or provider. There is also now a national pool of funding, so that everyone eligible for support has equitable access to the Home Care Package program.
If you or a loved one could use some extra support to stay living independently at home, our friendly staff at Pinnacle can help you understand the options available to you.
We can explain the type of services available, different funding options and how to apply for the support that you need. We are here to support you to navigate the system, and can assist you with the referral process for a Home Care Package approval.
If you currently have a Home Care Package, we can also help explain the recent Australian Government reforms and what they mean for you.
What types of home services can be funded?
A Home Care Package can fund a wide variety of services to help you maintain your independence and remain living in your own home. This includes support with your daily routine, such as showering and dressing, preparing meals, taking medication, doing the laundry, making the bed and cleaning.
Your package can also be used for assistance to get out into the community, whether that is to socialise or to do things like shopping or visiting the hairdresser.
Depending on your circumstances, your provider might also recommend services such as physiotherapy, podiatry, community nursing or even aids and equipment such as hands free speaker phones.
Ultimately, everyone’s support plan is different and depends on the level of Home Care Package funding they are eligible for. Speak with us at Pinnacle so they can understand your needs and goals and tailor a package just for you.
You may be eligible for a home care package if you are an older person who needs coordinated services to help you to stay in your home
Assessment for a home care package
To find out if you are eligible for a home care package or any other help at home services, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit their website www.myagedcare.com.au The My Aged Care contact centre will ask you a series of questions to determine if you need an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
During the assessment the ACAT will determine if you are eligible for a home care package and which package level best meets your care needs. There are four levels:
Level 1 - basic care needs
Level 2 - low-level care needs
Level 3 - intermediate care needs
Level 4 - high-level care needs.
You will be approved for one level of home care package. You will be prioritised for care based on your assessed need.
Each level of home care packages provides a different subsidy amount. This amount is paid to your selected approved home care provider. The subsidy contributes to the total cost of your services and care delivery. It is expected that you will contribute to the cost of your care where your personal circumstances allow.
Find out more about an ACAT assessment.
The types of services you can access under a home care package include, but are not limited to:
- Personal services: assistance with personal activities such as bathing, showering, toileting, dressing and undressing, mobility and communication.
- Nutrition, hydration, meal preparation and diet: assistance with preparing meals, including special diets for health, religious, cultural or other reasons; assistance with using eating utensils and assistance with feeding.
- Continence management: assistance in using continence aids and appliances such as disposable pads and absorbent aids, commode chairs, bedpans and urinals, catheter and urinary drainage appliances, and enemas.
- Mobility and dexterity: providing crutches, quadruped walkers, walking frames, walking sticks, mechanical devices for lifting, bed rails, slide sheets, sheepskins, tri-pillows, pressure-relieving mattresses and assistance with the use of these aids.
- Nursing, allied health and other clinical services: speech therapy, podiatry, occupational or physiotherapy services, hearing and vision services. Home care level 1 and 2 packages are not intended to provide comprehensive clinical or health services. Home care level 3 and 4 packages have a greater emphasis on delivering complex care in the home, including more clinical care where needed.
- Transport and personal assistance: assistance with shopping, visiting health practitioners and attending social activities.
- Management of skin integrity: assistance with bandages, dressings and skin emollients.
- A home care package may also be used to support the use of:
- telehealth: video conferencing and digital technology (including remote monitoring) to increase access to timely and appropriate care
- assistive technology: such as aids and equipment (particularly those that assist a person to perform daily living tasks), as well as devices that assist mobility, communication and personal safety
- aids and equipment: some aids and equipment that are directly associated with your care needs can be purchased using funds from your package budget. Read more about aids and equipment.
Home care package restrictions
There are care and services that you must not use home care package funds for:
- items that would normally be purchased out of general income
- buying food, except as part of enteral feeding requirements
- payment for permanent accommodation, including assistance with home purchase, mortgage payments or rent
- payment of home care fees
- payment of fees or charges for other types of care funded or jointly funded by the Australian Government
- home modifications or assets that are not related to your care needs
- travel and accommodation for holidays
- cost of entertainment activities, such as club memberships and tickets to sporting events
- gambling activities
- payment for services and items covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The Australian Government subsidy is paid directly to your chosen provider. The subsidy paid is different for each level of home care package.
If you are eligible, you are expected to contribute to the cost of your care where your personal circumstances allow.
The maximum income tested care fee you are expected to pay will be determined by the Department of Human Services.
Try the Fee Estimator . You can also call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 for more information about home care fees.
It is recommended that you arrange for a formal income assessment by the Department of Human Services after you have been assessed by an ACAT so you know what your contribution towards your care and services will be. If you choose not to complete this form, you can be asked to pay the maximum income-tested care fee.
If you are already receiving means tested income support payments, this information will already be held by DHS/DVA so you do not need to arrange for an income assessment. If this information is not held and you choose not to have your income assessed, you can be asked to pay the maximum fee.
You will need to discuss and agree to any fees and charges with your service provider before you receive services. These will be identified in your home care agreement before you start receiving care.
If you feel that you would face financial hardship in paying the required contribution you can ask to be considered for financial hardship assistance - Link here.