The Age Care System in Australia provides a range of care options to meet the care needs of older Australians.
There are two main streams of Government subsidised care options available for older people.
- Home Care Services
- Residential Aged Care Services
Most older people like to remain living in their home as they age.
Home Care Services are designed to provide assistance to people who want to remain living at home but might needs some assistance to enable them be safe, comfortable and well.
There are two Government supported Home Care Services:
The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) formerly known as HACC program
This program provides entry-level support services for older people who need some basic assistance
The Home Care Packages Program
This program provides more complex, coordinated and personalised care at home. It offers four levels of care packages to progressively support people with basic, low, intermediate and high care needs. It can includes personal care, support services, nursing, allied health and clinical services.
To be able to find out if you are eligible for government subsidised home care, you require an Aged Care Assessment.
There is no fee or charge for an aged care assessment.
To organise an assessment you need to call My Aged Care which is a Government portal for any older person seeking care.
Phone 1800 200 422 Interpreters are available if required.
My Aged Care Staff will will organise an assessment for you in your home depending on your need.
Tip: Before you call you may like to write down a few things which are starting to be challenging for you to stay safe and well at home. This can assist to ensure that the My Aged Care Staff understand your needs and you will get an appropriate assessment for your personal needs.
After you have been assessed, you will receive a letter outlining what service you are eligible for you and how to go about organising your care.
If you are not satisfied with the assessment you can seek a review of the decision. You must do that in writing within 28 days of receiving your letter from ACAT.
If you have been assessed as being eligible for a Home Care Package, you can decide if you want to take up a Home Care Package and contact providers to find out if the services they offer meet your needs.
For more information on planning your care and choosing a provider click here
Home Care Packages can make a difference in improving the quality of life of people needing support to live at home.
Before accepting a home care package there are a number of factors to consider:
The cost, services and possible private alternatives are all considerations before making an informed choice.
Carefully consider all aspects of taking up a Home Care Package to meet your care needs including;
- The Government contribution towards the cost of the package which varies depending on the package you have been assessed for
- The contribution you are required to make towards to cost of care which depends on your income
- The income-tested care fee you will pay is added to your Annual and Lifetime Cap
- How accepting the package would improve your life
- Using a Government approved providers means they have experience in caring for people like you
- Other alternatives available to get the support to meet your goal and needs
If you are unsure about accepting a package, you may like to get independent advice or talk to people who are on a package.
Video of people sharing their experience of considering or receiving a home care package already and the difference it has made to their life
The funds in your home care package are to pay for help that keeps you safe and well at home. There are three main kinds of help you can have. We’ve given some examples of that help here but you can talk about having other things too.
- dressing, showering and using the toilet
- making meals and eating.
General support services
- doing the cleaning and laundry
- doing the shopping and getting to appointments
- staying connected with your activities, interests, friends and community
- gardening and home maintenance
- changes to your home to make it safer and easier for you to live there
- 24 hour on-call service
- lots of different kinds of advice about staying at home.
Help to stay healthy
- nurse visits
- seeing professionals like physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, dentists, podiatrists and dieticians
- providing bandages and other items needed to look after wounds
- providing technological devices, equipment and other items that help you to do things like get around, look after your personal hygiene, make yourself understood and generally stay safe.
Of course there are some things you can’t use your home care package for, like paying your rent or mortgage, buying your groceries or paying for holidays. But you CAN use it to pay for your regular care needs while you are away on holiday. And if you don’t use one or more of the services in your package for a period of time, because you are away or in hospital for example, you may be able to use or save some of the funds for other things.