As you become older, you could find that you will require more assistance with your day to day activities. This type of assistance can be provided in the form of higher-level aged care service options in your home or a dedicated aged care facility.
The type of service will usually depend on how much care you are going to need and your particular preferences. For instance, you will need to decide between obtaining assistance while still living in your own home or moving into a dedicated aged care facility. If you need higher-level care services for the aged, but would still like to live in your own home, a Home Care Package may be the right option for you.
Before looking for assistance in your home with a Home Care Package, there are a few aspects to take into consideration. For instance, your eligibility for some options, the type of service you may require, cot of the services you would like and how to organise them.
Although no minimum age requirements apply for you to qualify for the Home Care Package, you will have to be willing to undergo a home support assessment by a dedicated Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) if you are living in Victoria. Both of these organisations will determine your level of eligibility and care that you may need.
Four different levels of care are available:
- Level 1 – support if you have basic-care requirements
- Level 2 – support if you have low-level requirements for care
- Level 3 – support if you have care needs of an intermediate level
- Level 4 – support if you have higher-level care requirements
Available Types of Support
In addition to the various services that are provided under a Commonwealth Home Support Programme, a Home Care Package includes some additional higher-level care services for the aged. For instance, depending on the amount and level of care you need, the following items can be provided:
- Dexterity and mobility aids such as walking frames or sticks, slide sheets, bed rails and mechanical lifting devices – as well as assistance with the use thereof
- Continence management products such as bedpans, disposable pads and nappies, urinary drainage and catheter devices
- Other more complex levels of care pertaining to nursing, clinical and allied health services
After you receive the results of your ACAT or ACAS assessment and you are determined to be eligible for a Home Care Package, you will be added to the national priority queue. Your spot in the queue will be determined by the amount of care you require, the amount of time you have been waiting to receive care and your current circumstances.
While you are still on the waiting list, it’s a good idea to have you or someone else you know research the different service providers in your area, as you will be allowed to select a preferred service provider upon approval. This can be done by making use of the My Aged Care Service Finder or by contacting My Aged Care by phoning 1800 200 422.
Upon reaching the top place in the queue, a letter from My Aged Care will be sent to you with the details pertaining to your Home Care Package. You will then have 56 days to accept and enter into an agreement with the service provider of your choice. In some cases, this could be extended by another 28 days if you are struggling to find or choose an appropriate service provider.
Related Costs as From July 1, 2014
A subsidy for your Home Care Package is paid to your service provider by the Government, which will contribute towards the full amount of your aged care services and the provision of care. The amount that will be paid to your chosen service provider will vary according to the level of care you require. It is essential to keep in mind that your contribution will be limited to:
- An income-tested care fee. This is an extra fee that will need to be paid, depending on your level of income. Annual and lifetime limits will apply and these are indexed annually, on the amount of income-tested care fees that you may be required to pay. Once these caps have been reached, the Australian Government will then pay your appropriate income-tested fee. If you are considered to be facing financial hardship, the income-testing fee may not apply to you
- A basic daily care fee, which is currently 17.5% of the single person rate of the Age Pension. This fee will apply to all persons who receive a Home Care Package, regardless of whether they form part of a couple or not
- Fees for services or additional care that aren’t covered by your Home care Package
After you have been assessed by an ACAT, you might want to plan to have a formal income assessment carried out by the Department of Human Services. This will enable you to see what your income-tested fee is going to be. A formal income assessment will not be needed if you currently receive any form of social security income support payments because the Department of Human Services will already have your financial information on record.
If you choose to not have an income assessment performed and you don’t receive any form of income support payments, you could be required to pay the maximum fee allowable.
A Final Word
The intention of a Home Care Package is to ensure that you are provided with additional higher-level aged care services, in addition to any that are supplied by the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, while you are still living in your own home.
You must keep in mind that aged care, much like wealth accumulation and retirement, will require extensive consideration and the appropriate level of advance planning.
If you or anyone else you know is considering using aged care services, it is recommended that you speak with your financial advisor regarding the available options and how they could affect your current financial situation.
As of July 1, 2014, there were changes made to the costs of Home Care Packages that helped make the aged care system more affordable and sustainable. If you have received a Home care Package before July 1, 2014, the new fee schedule will not be applicable to you. However, if you have stopped obtaining a home Care Package for longer than 28 days, the new fee arrangements will then apply if you decide to take on a new package.