There are many great things that come with age, we have a wealth of life experience, memories and achievements, and continue to learn and grow each and every day. However, as we get older, our bodies tend to slow down and the day-to-day tasks we’ve always been able to manage start becoming more and more difficult. Maintaining independence is a high priority for a lot of people who find themselves in this situation. The good news is there is government funding you can access that will help you or your loved one to remain independent in their own home, with assistance from others. Afea has compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you learn more about the Home Care Package funding.
What are Home Care Packages?
The Home Care Packages (HCP) Program is an initiative from the Australian Government for the purpose of helping the elderly live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. The program provides a subsidy towards care, services and case management to meet the needs of the recipient.
There are four levels of support ranging from basic care to high-level care, each a different subsidy amount that is allocated to the recipient and paid to the provider.
What happens when an individual is approved for a HCP?
There are limited government funded HCPs available. When approved for a package, the individual will be placed on a national queue until one becomes available. The wait is typically between 12 to 18 months. In the meantime, those that are on the waiting list may be able to receive funding through the Commonwealth Home Support Program. Alternatively, recipients may be assigned a HCP from a level lower than what they are approved for, until a package from their level becomes available.
What is the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)?
Similar to HCPs, CHSP provides a subsidy towards services to help the elderly live independently at home. They differ in that CHSPs are for short-term care, such as when a patient is discharged from hospital and needs help at home temporarily, or for those on the national queue waiting to be allocated a HCP.
What services can be accessed through HCPs?
There are many services covered by HCPs, including:
- Personal care, such as help with bathing and washing
- Simple modifications around the house, like hand rails or ramps
- Shopping assistance including prescriptions and groceries
- Nursing, physiotherapy and other allied health services
- Household jobs like cleaning or garden maintenance
- Transportation and help with public transport
- Equipment, including walking frames
- Meal preparation and cooking
- Social activities
How much does the care cost with HCP funding?
The cost of care services within a package will vary depending on how many services are needed, what HCP level of funding the recipient has, the basic daily fee the provider charges, and the outcome of the person’s income assessment. Depending on the above, the recipient may be required to pay the ‘income-tested care fee’ to contribute to the cost of services received.
All of this information will be laid out in the Home Care Agreement before commencement of services.
What is a Home Care Agreement?
A Home Care Agreement is made up of a care plan and personal budget that the provider creates for the recipient. It will set out how services are provided, who will provide them, and how much they will cost.
What is a care plan?
The care plan will lay out which services will be received, when they’ll be received and who will provide them. The provider will work with the individual to create the care plan to ensure funds are being put to best use. Some of the things to consider when creating a care plan are wants and needs of the recipient, help that’s currently being received, goals for the future, as well as what is important and enjoyable to the recipient. Care plans will change as the needs of the individual change. The provider and the recipient will work together to ensure the plan is on track to meet goals and needs.
What is a personal budget?
Personal budgets are created by providers of HCPs to ensure that funds are being spent on the services needed to achieve goals. HCP budgets are made up of the government subsidy, the basic daily fee, the maximum income-tested care fee, and any agreed upon additional amount that will be paid by the recipient for extra care or services that aren’t included in the package. If the care plan changes as needs do, the budget is likely to change also.
What types of fees are there?
Basic daily fee
The basic daily fee is charged by the HCP provider to cover costs of administration. The fee is a percentage of the basic age pension.
Contributions may be required from the recipient depending on their needs, income and assets. The DHS will conduct an income assessment which will determine whether any fees will be required on top of the allocated government subsidy.
Some providers charge an exit fee if the agreement is cancelled before the term expires. The amount will vary between providers, however, there is a maximum amount that can be charged which can be found on the My Aged Care website.
How do I access funding for aged care at home?
To start the process to receiving funding for in-home aged care, contact My Aged Care by visiting myagedcare.gov.au or calling 1800 200 422. If immediate assistance is needed before funding is approved; you can receive private care from Afea Care Services by calling 1300 65 11 33, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to download a handy checklist for your to navigate your way through the process.
How can Afea help?
With over 11 years’ experience, Afea Care Services is one of the most trusted approved providers of HCPs in NSW. We work with you to create a personalised package to meet your needs and achieve your goals. We match each client with one of our experienced and loving carers based on personality, hobbies, goals, language and location. Once services have begun you will have access to our state-of-the-art Client Portal, which provides information about scheduled services and monthly statements at the click of a button. Soon you will even be able to schedule services yourself, including choosing which Carers to allocate. You will also have access to a dedicated Care Manager and team of Care Coordinators to facilitate your independence at home.
My Aged Care: 1800 200 422 | myagedcare.gov.au