Changes to Home Care Packages

Recently Gilian Douglass, Director and General Manager of Oxley Home Care was invited to write a short article for Peninsula Living Magazine about Home Care Packages. Below is the article

Changes to Home Care Packages – Oxley Home Care

From July this year, home care packages will see seniors that are using the services have more options and more control over which services are used. Gilian Douglass explains what you need to know.

Home care packages are specific care services provided to meet a senior’s needs and support them in living independently at home for as long as possible. Home care package services are delivered by approved government-funded service providers. Funding is allocated to the service providers to manage and distribute the funds through services that the consumer has agreed upon. From July this year, there is a mandatory requirement for all home care packages in Australia to be offered under a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) approach. This new approach will give consumers greater control and a wider choice over what services they receive to support them to remain living at home. They will also be able to decide which service provider they would like to use.

Currently, consumers are given little or no choice over the services they receive, which are limited to personal care, domestic assistance, shopping and respite.

The new consumer-directed care packages are very much tailored to the individual and offer a wide range of support services including additional services such as nursing, allied health and the ability to purchase or hire equipment gardening and home maintenance and options to participate in social and community activities.

A budget is also allocated for the senior’s home care package which consists of the funds the government has allocated to each package plus the senior’s contribution or fees. The service provider holds the funds but works with the consumer to provide the services they want making sure they remain living within their budget.

To be eligible for a home care package the consumer must first be assessed by their local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and approved for either a low level care package (level 1 or 2) or a high level care package (level 3 to 4). Once approved for a package, the consumer is given a list by the ACAT team which provides the consumer details of service providers who hold packages in their suburb. Consumers need to then contact the providers and find out about each provider’s vacancies or place themselves on a waitlist. With the introduction of the My Aged Care website and call centre, this hopefully will become easier for consumers to identify providers with vacancies.

Since July last year, changes in financial contribution towards packages have been implemented so now all consumers who are either part pension or self-funded retirees are now subject to an additional income-tested contribution dependent on their Personal income. To estimate the contribution you might need to pay, you can access the home care fee estimator. phone 1800 200 422 or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au. To find out more about the new consumer directed care packages visit the home care today website www.homecaretoday.org .au.

Gilian Douglass is the Director General Manager of Oxley Home Care.

Phone 1300 993 591 or visit www.oxleyhomecare.com.au for further information

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