Home Care Packages: What are they?
Home Care Packages enable senior Australians to remain living at home for longer while still receiving the necessary care services they require to do so. However, they can often be difficult to understand and navigate.
It is now the most common opinion that people wish to remain at home with their families and communities in their later years. The Australian Government subsidised services that are available through the Home Care Package program make it possible for elderly people to receive essential services without going into an aged care home. This means that they can remain living independently for longer, aligning with the desire to stay with their families and communities in later life.
The Four Home Care Package Levels Explained
Level 1 - $8,750 each year*
The first home care package level is for people with basic care needs, such as help with cleaning the house, preparing meals, transport and shopping assistance.
Level 2 - $15,250 each year* The second home care package level is for people with low care needs, similar to that of level 1 but for those who require assistance more frequently.
Level 3 - $33,500 each year* The third home care package level is for people with intermediate care needs that may need regular support with their personal care on most days of the week. This can include funding for nursing and specific health services and a greater range of equipment/aids may also be included in this home care package level.
Level 4 - $50,750 each year* The final home care package level is for people that need a high level of care on a regular basis. This can include a greater amount of funding for nursing and health services, equipment/aids and personal care.
The services mentioned above in each level are only examples and the actual services you may receive with your home care package will reflect your individual circumstances and care needs.
Who is eligible?
According to My Aged Care, a face to face assessment is required to find out if you are eligible or not for a home care package. However, the first requirement is that you must be an elderly person who needs services (assistance) at home if you are to remain living there. Financially speaking, your situation does not hinder your eligibility for a home care package, but the amount that you may be asked to contribute will vary depending on your individual financial situation.
How to Apply
The first step in applying for a home care package is to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. On this phone call, they may ask you about your health, the care you are currently receiving and also your living conditions. They may then also organise a face to face assessment with you to determine what level of care you need to remain living at home. Face to face assessments are completed in your own home, saving you the hassle of having to meet someone somewhere. If you feel anxious about having a face to face assessment, it is perfectly fine to have a family member, carer or friend there with you during the assessment.
The assessor will determine if a home care package is right for you and what level best suits your needs. If your care needs are lower than what the first home care package level covers, it may instead be determined that the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) is sufficient for helping you remain at home. After your assessment is complete, you should receive a letter which will tell you if you have been approved for a home care package or not, the level you are approved for and the services that you are approved for.
When will I receive my Home Care Package?
Once you are deemed eligible and have received your letter from My Aged Care, you will not receive the home care package straight away. You will be placed on a national wait list/queue and will be contacted when you reach the top of that list/queue. Once you have been contacted, you can then start to formally organise your home care services. The only way you will be contacted is via post - you or your family will not receive a phone call. Ensure you read all mail that you receive in your mailbox.
My Aged Care states the following approximate wait times before a home care package becomes available:
Level 1: 3-6 months Levels 2 to 4: More than 12 months
The amount of time it takes for you to receive your home care package will depend on the number of people that are on the national queue and your priority level.
Summary of the Process
1. Contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to talk about your care needs and organise a face to face assessment. 2. An assessor will meet you at your home to determine your eligibility for a home care package. 3. Complete an income assessment (if applicable) and learn the costs involved with a home care package. 4. If you are deemed eligible, you will be placed on a national wait list. The waiting period can range from 3 to 12+ months. 5. Once you are at the top of the list, My Aged Care will contact you to let you know so that you can begin formally organising your home care services.
*These are rounded approximate figures sourced from My Aged Care and are current as at 09/08/2019. The amount the Government contributes increases on a yearly basis.