Frequently Asked Questions
For all questions related to Home Care Packages please read homecaretoday.org.au Frequently Asked Questions which answer all you need to know or download this copy of the PDF document.
As a Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) card holder can I access Home Care Packages?
How do I find an empty Home Care Package?
You need to visit www.myagedcare.gov.au and go to Find a service, enter the details of the package you are requesting and the postcode of your suburb. The search will bring up all providers who have current availability or waitlist. You need to contact them for further details. Also as part of your ACAT assessment you may have selected a preferred provider, if this is the case the provider will be sent a request to accept your package once a vacancy becomes available or to add you to their waitlist.
How can I pay my Invoice?
We accept a wide range of payment methods including credit card, direct debit, cheque, EFTPOS, direct transfer to our bank account and in some instances cash. Please call us to discuss an option that suits you.
How do I cancel services that have already been booked and scheduled?
You must call us on 02 9986 2266 within 4 hours of your appointment to cancel services or place them on hold. Our office hours are 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday or our after-hours number is 0412 927 312. Failure to do this will result in a late cancellation fee.
My parents need help at home but are quite resistant to external support. How can you help?
We regularly encounter clients who are initially resistant to care and support in fear of losing their independence or for a variety of other reasons. Our experienced Care Managers are trained to subtly work with clients on sensitive issues to avoid embarrassment or the feeling of inadequacy. We also work to slowly introduce the benefits of support, through our “doing with” and not “doing for” philosophy which promotes independence and builds trust.
What types of services do you offer and what is your minimum booking time?
We offer a suite of services that can be blended into 1 hour visits, making it more affordable to stay at home. Services can cover personal care, grooming, assistance with dressing, meal preparation, and administering medication, through to transport services, social support, respite, sleepovers and even 24 hour live in care. The services are flexible and designed around your needs and goals.
How much does private in-home care cost?
Support services, including Registered Nurse support, start at 1 hour and can be provided 24 hours per day. Please contact us, for a full information pack detailing our services and current fees and charges.
Can you provide the same type of services and support that my Mother is getting in the Nursing Home?
Absolutely! In-home high care is a fantastic option, with some research suggesting this type of care arrangement has additional health benefits to Nursing Home care. To ensure suitable care is provided, our Care Managers may recommend hiring specialist equipment such as beds, lifters and commode chairs to facilitate a comfortable experience. Our Care Workers are highly skilled and trained to support a full range of personal care and support services including Palliative Care. Our Registered Nurses and Allied Health staff are also involved in this support, ensuring a holistic service is provided.
HOME CARE PACKAGES
What is a Home Care Package?
The Australian government has created the Home Care Packages Programme to help older people to live at home for as long as possible. ‘Home care’ is a type of aged care service that has been created under the Aged Care Act 1997 (as amended 2013). Previously, home care was known as ‘community care’, or sometimes ‘Community Aged Care Package (CACP)’ or ‘Extended Aged Care at Home Package (EACH)’. If you want to stay in your own home as you get older, but need some assistance with things that may improve your health, wellbeing and independence, a Home Care Package may help you.
For more information on Home Care Packages, please visit the My Aged Care website or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
What is the difference between Home Support and Home Care Packages?
Home Support provides basic support services to assist people to remain living at home. These were formerly known as Home and Community Care (HACC) services, and are now known as the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) in all States and Territories except Victoria and Western Australia where the HACC Program continues for now. Home Care Packages are different from Home Support in that they provide a coordinated package of services with the assistance of an advisor or case manager.
How do I know whether I need assistance from a Home Care Package or the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (or Home and Community Care in Victoria and Western Australia).
You can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 and tell them about your situation and they can advise you on which services are best suited to your needs. They will then refer you either directly to the appropriate service in your area, to an ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) for Home Care Packages or the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) for Commonwealth Home Support Programme services.
What services are included in a Home Care Package?
The most common types of supports are: assistance with bathing, dressing, mobility, preparing meals, continence management, cleaning, laundry services, gardening, home maintenance, transport to attend medical appointments or social activities, nursing, allied health and therapy services.
You do not need to receive all or any of these supports and there may be other things you may want assistance with. You and your Home Care Package provider will work together to determine what your preferences and needs are. If you need other supports that are not listed here, do not worry. Discuss your needs with your provider and ask them about some creative ways they can support your needs. If your preferred services support your health and wellbeing, your ability to stay at home and be connected with your family and community, and support your independence then your needs should be considered. Make sure the supports you have agreed to are included in your care plan. Providers will do their best to support you within the limits of the resources available from your Home Care Packages . The resources are linked to the package level. Each package level has a different amount of funds available to purchase services.
If financial resources are not available, there may be other ways of providing you with the support you need to continue living at home.
You have the right to have your wishes for lifestyle and support respected.
For more information on the care and services you could receive from your Home Care Package, please visit the My Aged Care website or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
How will my Home Care Provider meet my language, cultural or diversity needs?
The Department of Social Services expects that Home Care Package providers work with consumers to find the most suitable way of communicating both written and verbal information. The National Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) can be accessed free of charge when you and your provider are discussing the Home Care Agreement, care plan, budget and monthly statement. Any requirement for translation and interpreting relating to you communicating with services involved in delivering care and support, need to be met by the consumer’s Home Care Package budget.
Some Home Care Package providers specialize in working with culturally diverse communities. You should ask your ACAT assessor when you first wish to access a Home Care Package which organisations might meet your specific requirements. You can request that these organisations are made aware of your desire to receive your Home Care Package through their service.
What does the term ‘special needs’ mean in the context of Home Care Packages?
Under the Aged Care Act 1997, people with special needs include people who identify with or belong to one or more of the following groups1:
- people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
- people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds;
- people who live in rural and remote areas;
- people who are financially or socially disadvantaged;
- people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
- people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex;
- people who are care leavers; and
- parents separated from their children by forced adoption or removal.
Places are sometimes allocated to a home care provider with a specific condition of allocation that priority of access is given to people who belong to defined special needs groups. However, all home care providers are expected to have policies and practices in place to ensure services are accessible to people with special needs. Providers should have regard to consumer diversity, taking into account consumers’ individual interests, customs, beliefs and backgrounds. Providers should also work collaboratively with advocacy services, particularly the National Aged Care Advocacy Programme services, and specialist service providers for people from special needs groups, where appropriate.
In December 2012, the Government released national strategies for two of the special needs groups:
- ‘National Ageing and Aged Care Strategy for People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Backgrounds’; and
- ‘National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Ageing and Aged Care Strategy’.
How many levels of Home Care Packages there are?
There are four levels of Home Care Packages:
- Home Care Level 1 – to support people with basic care needs.
- Home Care Level 2 – to support people with low level care needs.
- Home Care Level 3 – to support people with intermediate care needs.
- Home Care Level 4 – to support people with high care needs.
Home Care Level 2 is equivalent to the former Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs), while Home Care Level 4 is equivalent to the former Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages.
So, the main difference between the home care levels is the amount of care and services that can be purchased. More care services can be purchased at level 4.
There are also supplements for people with specific needs and/or in remote locations. More information about supplements is available on the Department of Social Services website https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/ageing-and-aged-care/aged-care-funding/aged- care-subsidies-and-supplements
ELIGIBILITY AND ASSESSMENT FOR HOME CARE PACKAGES
How do I find out if I am eligible for a Home Care Package?
The process for finding out if you are eligible is called an ‘aged care assessment’. The Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT) or Aged Care Assessment Services (ACAS in Victoria) assesses consumers to determine their eligibility. The assessors will talk to you about your current situation and will determine whether you can be assisted at home with a Home Care Package. The assessment does not cost you anything – it is free.
To find out more about ACAT or ACAS services see www.myagedcare.gov.au/eligibility-and-assessment/acat-assessments or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
How do I find an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)?
The ACAT teams are located around Australia. Your GP or local health care provider can assists you on your search or you can do it yourself by accessing the My Aged Care website http://www.myagedcare.gov.au or by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
How do I find a Home Care Package once I know I am eligible?
Once your eligibility for a Home Care Package has been decided by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or Aged Care Assessment Services – ACAS (in Victoria) you can talk to My Aged Care to find home care providers in your area that have a package available. You may also wish to ask your friends or family for recommendations.
For more information on the steps to accessing a Home Care Package, please visit the My Aged Care website.
What else is available to help me stay at home?
You may find extra support in your community, in your social network, using your own resources or by creating a circle of people that may be able to help you. Ask your provider if they can assist you with setting up a circle of support or they could access the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) to complement your Home Care Package.
To find out more about CVS, please visit the My Aged Care website.
Another source of information is your local council. Contact them to find out what is available in your area.
You can also explore the use of equipment. A piece of equipment may be what you need for extra help. Technology is now often being used to help people to manage their day-to-day tasks at home.
How can I prepare for my ACAT Assessment?
During the assessment visit the assessor will identify your needs and advise on the types of care services that may help you to stay at home.
Therefore, this is a time for you to speak up! Talk about what you are still able to do for yourself, and what you may need assistance with to stay living at home with the lifestyle you choose. It helps if you have already thought about what your needs are, and about what you really want in terms of the help you may need in the foreseeable future. Your assessed needs will help to determine which level of Home Care Package you may be eligible for. You will also be asked about whether you want approvals to use residential respite care in the future.
If you would rather not meet with the ACAT / ACAS assessor alone, you can have a friend, family member, partner, carer or advocate with you during the assessment. The National Aged Care Advocacy Programme (NACAP) is funded to promote your rights. To contact your local advocacy service phone 1800 700 600.
In some instances, when staying at home is no longer possible, the ACAT/ACAS assessment can also help to determine your eligibility for care in a residential aged care service.
What questions should I ask when I get an ACAT assessment?
If you have a preference for a particular Care Provider to manage your package, you can ask the Assessor to specify which Care Provider/s you want to be waitlisted with.
What if I disagree with my ACAT/ACAS assessment?
The ACAT/ ACAS assessor must provide you with information on how to appeal a decision. Remember you have a right to express your concerns.
For more information go to http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/eligibility-and-assessment/acat- assessment
How long can I stay on the package?
You can stay on a Home Care Package as long as you need.
If, however, you need to move residence, check whether your provider can support you in the new area. Home Care Packages are allocated for specific areas. If your provider cannot assist you in the new location, they can advise you about how to find another provider with a vacant package. If you move out of your area and make no arrangements to find another provider you will be without services until you find another provider with a vacant package who can support you.
Can I put my package ‘on hold’?
You can take ‘leave’ from your package if you need to go to hospital, or if you are taking ‘planned leave’ from your package, such as a holiday or respite care. You may be able to access necessary services whilst you are away on holidays in another location. Talk to your provider about making arrangements for putting your package on hold. On your return you can restart the services.
CONSUMER DIRECTED CARE (CDC)
What is Consumer Directed Care?
Consumer Directed Care (CDC) is a way of delivering services that allows you to have greater choice and flexibility in the services and supports you receive as part of your Home Care Package. That is, CDC allows you to make choices about the types of assistance you access and the delivery of those services, including who will deliver the services and when it is
delivered. In the CDC approach:
- you are encouraged to identify your goals which will be the basis of the care plan
- you decide how much involvement you want to have in managing the package
- you are able to exercise choice in the way that services are delivered and by whom
- you will receive an individualised budget and a monthly statement of income and expenditure
- you can expect ongoing monitoring and review, and a formal re-assessment by the home care provider.
All Home Care Packages are delivered on a CDC basis from 1 July 2015.
To find out more about CDC, please visit the My Aged Care website or visit the ‘Knowledge Centre’ Tab on the Home Care Today website.
How is CDC different from Home Care Packages before 1 July 2015?
The CDC approach encourages providers to explore options outside the boundaries of the formal services. That is, you can explore your community connections, family or informal networks, community and private resources to help achieve your goals.
The CDC approach starts with finding out about your life and your goals, what you would like to keep doing for yourself, and the assistance you may need to continue to live the way you wish.
For example, the family of Mrs. H may have sought home care support for their mother because they were concerned that she is losing weight and not eating well. While the initial response may have been to arrange delivered meals, a deeper exploration may lead to other responses. Why is Mrs. H not having nutritious meals? When did it start? What happened? Does Mrs. H like cooking? What kind of assistance would she prefer? Would she benefit from a dietitian referral? Would she like to be cooking for herself again? Is food important in her life? Would she prefer to have meals in a social context? By asking questions and exploring further the need for nutritious food, the provider learns more about the person and a very different support can be put in place. For example, Mrs. H’s need for nutrition can be satisfied with either delivered meals or she could have someone coming to help her to cook, someone to help with the shopping so that she can cook herself, she could have her family on a roster to bring her some meals, or she may join a group who has a meal out once or twice a week.
The CDC approach focuses on giving you the flexibility to plan and make your own decisions about your support, helping you to live the life you always lived – planning, making your own decisions and living your life in full! That is, with CDC you can tell your provider what you want to do – you can set broader life goals. This does not mean that the provider does everything for you. Providers will help you within the limits of the package programme. Providers will also look at how you might be able to regain your health and strength to be able to do more for yourself and be less reliant on people coming in to assist you. There is flexibility within the package programme to allow for both of you to explore the options with a broader mindset.
CDC also requires Home Care Package providers to give you a monthly statement of your income and expenses for your individual Home Care Package. Understanding the funds available and what your services are costing will assist you to make decision about your priorities for assistance.
How can I access a CDC Package?
From July 2015, all Home Care Packages will be delivered on a Consumer Directed Care basis. If you do not have a Home Care Package, you need to speak to the Aged Care Assessment
Team. See ELIGIBILITY AND ASSESSMENT FOR HOME CARE PACKAGES for more information.
How is my CDC budget worked out?
Your budget is based on the level of your package and is allocated to the supports you need after discussing your goals and completing the care plan with your provider’s adviser / case manager. The budget includes the costs of services to be purchased for you, an optional ‘contingency’ fund and the core advisory costs and administrative overheads. You can read more about these cost items in your budget in the information sheet – Individualised Budget Items Costs
The income component of your package budget is made up of:
- Australian Government subsidy (and eligible supplements)
- the basic daily care fee which all consumers receiving a Home Care Package can be asked to pay
- your income tested care fee (if you’ve entered into Home Care after 1 July 2014) which you may need to pay depending on your assessable income
- any other amount you’ve agreed to with your service provider.To find out more about creating a budget for your package, please visit the My Aged Care website.
What if I don’t understand my Home Care Package statement?
You have the right to ask questions about your statement. If you do not understand your statement, call your adviser/ case manager and ask questions about it. It is important that you know and understand how your package funds are spent. Providers are required to produce statements in a way that you can understand.
To find out more about your individualised budget and income and expenses statement, please visit the My Aged Care website, or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Why has my budget for services or number of hours of service been reduced since I moved to CDC?
Before the introduction of CDC, Home Care Package providers received funds for a number of Home Care Packages at different levels. Some providers chose to allocate additional funds to people with higher needs, which meant that other people were receiving less care than they were entitled to. Since the introduction of CDC, every person is allocated the budget according to the level of package they have been assessed as needing. This means that people who were previously receiving more than their funding entitlement may have the amount reduced, and those who were receiving less may have their amount increased.
In some cases Home Care Package providers may have reviewed their service costings, resulting in a reduced budget for hours of service within individual packages. You might want to ask your provider to explain why your services have changed, including details about previous cross-subsidisation, and changes to their organisational cost structure.
If you are concerned about the impact of moving to CDC on your package you can speak to your provider. If you are not happy with their response you can contact the CDC Transition Hotline at the Department of Social Services on 1800 138 225 and ask them to review your situation.
Is there any Government regulation of the amount that home care providers can charge in administration costs and core advisory and care management services?
The government sets the amount of subsidy for a Home Care Package depending on the level that you have been assessed as needing (Level 1 to 4). You can find those amounts on the DSS website here: https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/ageing-and-aged-care/aged-care- funding/aged-care-subsidies-and-supplements Within that amount, plus any relevant supplements and your contribution of the basic fee and income tested care fee, Home Care Package providers can determine how the budget is allocated to:
- core case management and advisory costs
See the Individualised budget costs items for more information in what is included in each of these categories. http://www.homecaretoday.org.au/consumer/about-home-care/planning-your-care
Prior to 1 July 2015, Home Care Package providers operating on a CDC basis were required to declare what portion of your package was being allocated to your direct support, and what other costs are involved in delivering your packages, such as the cost of the case management and advisory services and the administrative overheads that are a necessary part of running any organisation (such as office rental, vehicles, telephones and other operating expenses). The Government does not regulate these costs and they will differ between Home Care Package Providers. Since 1 July 2015 this is not longer a requirement and providers may present all costs as part of a “unit cost” for an hour of service or a particular item.
You may be paying a certain percentage of the package in administration fees, while your friend, in a similar situation, may be paying a different amount if using another provider.
You can ask if you or your representative can take more control in managing the package, and receive some reduction in the charges for case management and core advisory costs. Some providers have different tiers of self-management which may affect how much you have available to spend in your package, but there is no compulsion for Home Care Package Providers to offer this.
You have the right to ask questions about the charges before you agree to accept the Home Care Package. If you intend to take on higher levels of responsibility for self-managing some aspects of your care, you are advised to discuss this up-front with potential Providers. If you are not happy with it after the Provider’s explanation of their charges, you can explore the option of finding another provider.
How can I compare the charges of different providers?
Can I change Home Care Package providers?
You can move to a new Home Care Package provider if that provider has a vacant package at the level you have been assessed as needing. This will be more likely if your package is a lower level (Level 1 or 2) than a higher level (Level 3 or 4). Fewer high level packages are allocated so the demand for them is greater.
Before you consider changing Home Care Package providers you should speak with your provider about the aspects of your service that you are not happy with.
If you still wish to change providers, you can go to the My Aged Care service finder at http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/service-finders or call them on 1800 200 422 to find out who provides home care services in your area. You will then need to contact them to see if they have any vacant packages.
What choices do I have about the supports I can purchase from my budget?
Under the CDC approach, your adviser/case manager works with you to find out what is important to you and what you would like to achieve with the help and assistance that will be provided – providers often call this ‘goal setting’. The choices of supports depend on what your goals are. In short, the provider supports you either directly, by providing a service or indirectly by organising supports for you from other organisations or pointing you in the right direction.
The Government has set some limits to purchasing arrangements. You have the right to ask and choose but keep in mind that the package cannot be used:
- as a source of general income
- to purchase food, except as part of enteral feeding requirements
- as payment for permanent accommodation, including assistance with home purchase, mortgage payments or rent
- to pay home care fees
- to pay fees or charges for other types of care funded or jointly funded by the Australian Government (this includes fees for residential respite care).
- for home modifications or capital items that are not related to your care needs
- for travel and accommodation for holidays
- for the cost of entertainment activities, such as club memberships and tickets to sporting events
- to pay for services and items covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- for gambling or illegal activities.
For more information on the care and services you could receive from your Home Care Package, please visit the My Aged Care website.
We have also developed some checklists to assist you in choosing a service provider, working out a plan and working with your provider. Remember – you have the right to ask. Make the most of CDC.
What aspects of the organisation and management of my CDC package can I take on? How does this impact on the cost of my support?
A key objective of CDC is to promote choice and decision making for consumers. You can manage as much as you want as long as it is agreed and stated on your care plan. You need to discuss this with your provider. The CDC model can change from provider to provider. What remains constant is the fact that you make all the decisions about your care and you choose what is right for you. You cannot be excluded from taking on an active role in these areas on the grounds of any lack of qualifications on your part. There are core advisory services that the Home Care Package provider must be responsible for in order to meet their legal and funding obligations.
While you can have increased choice and flexibility with CDC, you are not able to receive the funds directly. The funds are allocated to the provider to plan the services in partnership with you.
To find out more about CDC, please visit the My Aged Care website.
What if I want things in my plan my provider doesn’t deliver?
You have the right to have your wishes for lifestyle and support respected. If you identify a type of service that you feel would best meet your care needs, your service provider must do what they can to help you to get that care or service. This may include arrangements to source services from other service providers. As this may increase the cost of service to you, any additional costs should be made clear to you prior to you agreeing to the service.
It is impractical to try to state everything that is an inclusion or an exclusion under Home Care Packages guidelines. Rather, there should be transparency around the decision-making process your Provider uses to determine whether your request can be accommodated. You should have the opportunity to state your case for budget expenditure where you believe your health and wellbeing will be enhanced as a consequence.
To find out more about creating your care plan, please visit the My Aged Care website. For more information on the care and services you could receive from your Home Care
Package, please visit the MyAgedCare website.
I want my family or friends to be paid to care for me. Is that possible?
You can certainly express your wishes and desires. Your provider will work with you to address your requirements in the best way possible. Every provider has their own CDC approach. The support of your family and friends may be able to be included in your care plan in certain circumstances but you need to discuss this with the provider as they have responsibilities set out by the Aged Care Act 1997 that they still need to adhere to.
FEES AND VALUE FOR MONEY
Do I need to contribute financially to my support under CDC? How much? Why?
Under arrangements for home care prior to 1 July 2014, you may have been asked to pay a fee based on your ability to contribute to the cost of your care. For older people on the basic rate of single pension, a basic daily fee of up to 17.5% of the pension could be charged. Consumers on higher incomes could also be asked to pay additional fees, limited to 50% of any income above the basic Age Pension rate. If you were already on a package prior to 1 July 2014, your fee arrangements should not change.
To find out more about this fee structure, please visit the My Aged Care website.
Since 1 July 2014, the fee arrangements for Home Care Packages have changed. You should go to www.myagedcare.gov.au/financial-and-legal/help-home-costs-explained for more information. You can use the Home Care Fee Estimator to estimate the costs your provider may ask you to pay.
Can a Home Care Packages provider increase my fees from 1 July 2014 if I was already receiving a package prior to 1 July 2014?
This depends on your Home Care Agreement, what fees have been included in your Agreement and whether the Agreement allows the provider to increase these fees.
As long as you don’t end your Home Care Agreement and take longer than 28 days to enter into a new Home Care Agreement you will remain subject to the fees that were in place prior to 1 July 2014. Prior to 1 July 2014, there were two parts to the fees charged for Home Care Packages.
The two types of fees are explained below.
Basic fee: Everyone taking up a Home Care Package can be asked by their service provider to pay the basic fee. The basic fee has not changed as part of the new fee arrangements. It is indexed twice per year in line with changes to the age pension.
Income-tested care fee: If you have a total assessable income above the single rate of the basic Age Pension, you could have been asked to pay an income-tested care fee. This fee can be up to 50% of your income above the Age Pension amount.
To find out more about this fee structure, please visit the My Aged Care website.
How do I decide whether my Home Care Package is providing value for money?
There are a number of aspects to consider when thinking about whether your package is providing value for money. In relation to your direct services or other goods or equipment provided, you could compare the costs with what you could purchase on the private market. You can ask your Provider for assistance to make this value-for-money comparison.
You should also consider the benefits of having an Adviser/Case Manager to work with you on co-ordinating your support, assisting you to locate other support, and working with you to arrange the best possible support available.
Home Care Packages have the benefit of Government oversight of your care and support through the monitoring of the Aged Care Quality Agency www.aacqa.gov.au.
Another consideration is the annual and lifetime caps that apply to the income-tested care fee for Home Care Packages. Once these caps are reached, you cannot be asked by your service provider to pay any more income-tested care fees. The Australian Government will pay these fees for you after you have reached these caps. The amount of these annual and lifetime caps can be found at http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/financial-and-legal/home-care-package- income-tested-care-fee together with more information about these fee caps.
Once the annual cap is reached, you cannot be asked to pay any more income-tested care fees until the next anniversary of the date you first began receiving aged care. Your service provider can still ask you to pay the basic fee.
Lifetime cap: There is a maximum amount of income-tested care fees you may be asked to pay in your lifetime. Any means-tested care fees you pay in residential care will also be counted towards the lifetime cap. When you have reached this lifetime cap, you cannot be asked to pay any more in income-tested care fees. Your service provider can still ask you to pay the basic fee.
If you are anticipating that you may need support in the longer term, the fact that your fees are capped when receiving government funded services may influence your choice between these services and buying services on a private basis.
GETTING MORE INFORMATION AND WHERE TO GO IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH YOUR ARRANGEMENTS
Isn’t the information I get from my provider too biased? How do I get the independent information I need to make choices about my support?
There are a number of ways you can get information about home care:
- My Aged Care is a central point for aged care information. You can access the website http://www.myagedcare.gov.au or you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
- Home Care Today is a service that is here for you. We have been funded to provide you with information about CDC. A number of resources are available in the website under the Consumer banner.
- COTA is an organisation that represents the interests of older Australians. COTA is delivering free education sessions on CDC around Australia. The sessions are organised by your local State or Territory COTA. Please contact them to find out when the next session is.
- Independent advocacy services also are available to assist you with any difficulties relating to your home care supports. Advocacy Services are community based organisations funded by the Australian Government under the National Aged Care Advocacy Programme (NACAP) to provide free and confidential support to recipients of care and also to promote the rights of older people to aged care service providers http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/how-make-complaint/advocacy-services.
How do I work with my Home Care Package provider?
Providers seek to develop a good relationship with consumers. Your key contact with the provider is your adviser/case manager. Developing a good relationship with your adviser/case manager will help you to address care concerns about your support.
However, if you want to express concerns about your relationship with your adviser you can follow the organisation’s complaints processes. You may find this in the information package from your provider or contact your provider directly.
If this is not possible you can access the Aged Care Complaints Scheme or call 1800 550 552.
What can I do if I don’t like the person who comes in to help me at home?
You can ask the provider to change the staff who come into your home. You can speak to your adviser/case manager or the manager of the service about your concerns. You have the right to have your wishes respected.
At times Home Care Package providers need to send different people to your home to cover for staff sick leave, holidays and other unforeseen circumstances. However, you have the right to ask to be notified if you have a regular person coming to your home and for some reason the arrangement changes.
What if I am really unhappy with the care I am receiving?
You have the right to express your concerns. You can express your concern directly with the provider, or you can have the support of an advocate or by making a complaint to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/ageing-and-aged-care/programs-services/aged-care-complaints-scheme or call 1800 550 552.
Another alternative is to discuss your concerns with a person who can advocate on your behalf. The National Aged Care Advocacy Programme (NACAP) is funded to promote your rights. To contact your local advocacy service phone 1800 700 600.
What are the roles and responsibilities of my service provider?
It is the responsibility of your provider to:
- ensure that your rights are respected
- provide you with the information you need to make your own decisions
- allocate an adviser/case manager to liaise with you – this person will act as a facilitator and adviser
- be in contact with you to ensure your needs are met through regular service review.
- meet all the legal requirements and quality service standards.
What are my responsibilities?
As a consumer of home care services it is your responsibility to:
- respect your home care workers
- give as much information as possible so your provider can develop a good care plan with you
- follow the Home Care agreement
- provide a safe environment for your care workers to come to your home as agreed in the plan
How can I make a complaint if I am not happy?
You should first discuss your concerns with your Home Care Packages provider. It may be something that can be resolved easily, and your provider is in the best position to address your concerns.
Should you have a complaint, your provider will tell you about their internal complaints process and how to make a complaint. You have the right to make a complaint without it affecting your care and services.
Sometimes, complaints cannot be resolved by the service provider, or you might not feel comfortable raising your concern with them. In these situations, you have the right to an advocate in resolving this matter, the Government funds advocacy services under the National Aged Care Advocacy Programme (NACAP). Advocacy services provide information to consumers, their families and carers about their rights and responsibilities when accessing aged care services.
Advocacy services are free, confidential and independent. The National Aged Care Advocacy Line can be contacted on a free call to 1800 700 600.