Being able to stay at home as we age is one of the most important things for most Australians.
The Federal Government offers assistance in the way of a Home Care Package for elderly people who may need help in their day-to-day lives, whether it be domestic support around the home or higher-level personal care and nursing.
There are four levels of Home Care Packages offering greater amounts of care as the levels increase.
The range of care and services available under a Home Care Package includes, but is not limited to:
Support services could include help with washing and ironing, house cleaning, gardening, basic home maintenance, home modifications related to your care needs, and transport to help you with shopping, visit your doctor or attend social activities
Personal care could include help with showering or bathing, dressing and mobility.
Nursing, allied health and other clinical services
Nursing services from a registered nurse, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry and speech therapy.
Home Care Package levels
There are four levels of a Home Care Package – from Level 1 supporting those with basic care needs up to Level 4 with high-level care needs.
Each package level has a different amount of funding (subsidy) that is paid to your provider by the Australian Government to deliver your care and services. You can find out more on the subsidy rates at the Department of Social Services’ website www.dss.gov.au.
You can tailor a Home Care Package to best support your needs and goals by working in partnership with your home care provider to co-produce your care plan. This is an important part of the process, and will help you to get the most out of the care and services available to you.
Step 1: Check your eligibility.
The first step is to contact My Aged Care by calling 1800 200 422 or going to www.myagedcare.gov.au. They will refer you to an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) who will organise to come and do an assessment of your needs and eligibility. This is a free service.
It is important to know that your preferences will always be considered, and you do not need to make any decisions about your future during your assessment.
An ACAT can approve you as eligible for either a low-level care (Level 1 or 2 package) or a high-level care (Level 3 or 4 package).
Step 2: Find a Home Care Package provider.
Once you have received your ACAT approval, you will need to select a home care provider in your local area who can provide a Home Care Package to you. If you need help to choose a local home care provider, you can contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or use the Service Finder on the My Aged Care website.
The Service Finder will provide you with an overview of providers in your local area and their website details, so you can get a better understanding of what they offer. You can also get their contact details so that you can arrange a time to visit.
Each approved provider is different, so meeting them will help you understand what you can expect. You’ll also be able to ask them what administration and case management fees they charge, the types of care services and activities they offer.
Step 3: Work out the costs.
The Australian Government subsidises a range of aged care in Australia. If your personal circumstances allow, it is expected that you will contribute to the cost of your care.
Any fees and eligibility for subsidies will be discussed and agreed upon with your service provider before you receive the relevant services.
(To read an informative blog on the cost benefits of home care versus residential home care, click here.)
(To read more on estimating the costs of a Home Care Package, click here.)
There are two types of fees that you can expect to pay:
- A basic daily fee, the maximum being 17.5 per cent of the single person rate of the basic Age Pension.
- Depending on your income, you may be asked to contribute more to the cost of your care. This is known as the ‘income-tested care fee’ and is in addition to the basic daily fee.
My Aged Care can also give you an estimate of your fees by using the Home Care Fee Estimator. You can use the Fee Estimator on their website.
For an informative blog on estimating your fees for a Home Care Package, click here.
Step 4: Accept a Home Care Package.
The home care provider will then offer you a Home Care Package in accordance with their Home Care Agreement. As part of your Home Care Agreement, the provider will work in partnership with you to co-design a care plan based on your goals, preferences and assessed care needs and an individualised budget. You can then decide whether or not to accept the package.
Your care plan is part of your Home Care Agreement and may include:
- A description of the care and services you will receive
- Who will provide which services
- How much involvement you will have in managing and co-ordinating your services
- When your services are delivered (for example, which day of the week)
- How much you will pay
For information on the questions you should ask a Home Care Provider, click here.
Step 5: Begin your services.
Once you have a Home Care Agreement, a care plan and an individualised budget, your care and services can begin.
Your package starts on the day your Home Care Agreement is signed, not from the day you receive care and services. You can continue to receive services under your Home Care Package for as long as you need it. As part of the Aged Care Reforms (February 2017), you may move your package to a new provider at any stage.
About Oxley Home Care:
Oxley Home Care, established in 2006, is a family-owned Sydney company and is an Approved Government Provider for aged care services, specialising in Dementia Care.
Oxley Home Care provides Dementia Care, Private Care, Home Care, Nursing, Veterans Home Care and Allied Health to enable people to live a quality life independently in their own home and stay connected to their local community.
Oxley Home Care is an Approved Provider of Home Care Packages funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and holds an allocation of Home Care Packages. These packages are designed to provide assistance to the elderly, to remain living independently at home.
To gain access to a Home Care Package, the government requires that you undergo a comprehensive assessment by your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). To arrange the assessment, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit the My Aged Care web site.
For more information, please feel free to call Oxley Home Care on 1300 993 591.