Exploring Home Care: What is a Home Care Package?
Home Care |
As we age, our needs change, and maintaining independence and quality of life becomes increasingly important. And for many older Australians, the desire to continue living in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes is an important consideration for their future. Thankfully, through current government funding, there is an opportunity for you to access a comprehensive support system known as home care packages. In this blog, we will delve into the world of home care packages, exploring what they are, how they work, and their potential benefits for you and your loved ones.
Understanding home care packages
A home care package is a government-funded program designed to provide tailored support and assistance to older Australians who wish to remain in their own homes. It offers a range of services and support to address individual needs, promoting independence, wellbeing, and quality of life.
Eligibility and assessment
To access a home care package, you must first undergo an assessment by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria. These assessments evaluate the level of care and support required and determine the appropriate home care package level for your health and care needs. For more on this assessment process, read our comprehensive aged care assessment guide.
Once assessed, you will be assigned one of four levels, ranging from Level 1 (basic care needs) to Level 4 (high-level care needs). The level assigned determines the amount of funding allocated to your care package, which can be utilised to access care services and areas of support.
Types of home care package services
Home care packages cover a wide range of services, allowing you to receive personalised care and support in your own home. These services can include:
Personal care: Assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and mobility support.
Allied health services: Access to various health professionals, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and dieticians, to address specific health needs and improve overall wellbeing.
Meal preparation: Assistance with meal planning, preparation, and nutritional support.
Domestic assistance: Help with household tasks like cleaning, laundry, and shopping.
Transport: Support for transportation to medical appointments, social activities, and community engagements.
Social support: Companionship and assistance with participating in social activities and hobbies.
Respite care: Temporary relief for caregivers, allowing them to take breaks and recharge.
Home modifications and assistive technology: Adaptations to the home environment, such as grab rails or ramps, and the provision of assistive devices to enhance independence and safety.
Nursing care: Skilled nursing care for complex medical needs.
Medication management: Assistance with organising and administering medications.
Funding and budgeting
Once assessed and approved for a home care package, you will receive funding from the Australian Government to cover the cost of approved services. The level of funding is determined based on the assigned care package level and your assessed care and service needs.
Home care package funding consists of two main components: the basic daily fee and the package funding. The basic daily fee is a contribution towards the cost of care and is calculated based on the individual’s income and assets. The package funding is the government-funded amount allocated to the individual’s care package and is used to pay for the approved services.
Understanding costs and fees
While the government provides funding for home care packages, you may be required to contribute towards the cost of your care, depending on your financial circumstances.
The income-tested care fee is a fee based on individuals’ income and is determined by the Department of Human Services. However, there are annual and lifetime caps to ensure that individuals are not financially burdened.
Eligibility for home care packages and assessment
To be eligible for a home care package, you must undergo an assessment by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS). This assessment evaluates the individual’s care needs and determines their eligibility for government-funded home care services.
The process involves a face-to-face assessment with an ACAT/ACAS assessor, where your health, mobility, and overall wellbeing are evaluated. The assessor considers factors such as your ability to perform daily tasks, your medical conditions, and any support you may require. The assessment is crucial in determining the appropriate level of care and support needed and your corresponding home care package level.
The ACAT/ACAS assessment also takes into account any specific preferences and goals you may have regarding their care. This person-centered approach ensures that the home care package is tailored to your unique requirements and desires.
Waiting for a home care package
After the assessment, individuals who are approved for a home care package may need to wait for their allocated package to become available. The waiting time can vary depending on the demand and availability of packages in your area.
During the waiting period, you may be eligible for interim support through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) or other government-funded services. These programs offer basic care and support while you wait for your home care package. Services provided under the CHSP may include assistance with personal care, meals, transport, and home maintenance.
Managing home care package funds
Once you receive your home care package funding, you have control over how those funds are allocated and which services you choose to engage.
An easy way to manage this process is to choose a home care package provider to manage the funds and organise and oversee services on your behalf. Your chosen package provider takes care of administrative tasks, such as hiring and managing staff, coordinating services, and ensuring compliance with government regulations. Read more about how to choose the right home care package provider for your situation.
Benefits of home care packages
Home care packages offer numerous benefits for you and your loved ones. Let’s explore some of the key advantages below.
Independence and familiarity: home care packages enable you to access care in your own home, surrounded by familiar surroundings, cherished memories, and a sense of independence. This contributes to your overall wellbeing and happiness.
Personalised care in your own home: Each home care package is tailored to your specific needs, ensuring that the services provided align with your requirements, preferences and future goals. This personalised approach promotes a higher quality of care and support.
Ongoing support: Home care packages provide ongoing support, adapting to your changing needs and circumstances. As your requirements evolve, the package can be adjusted to accommodate additional services or higher levels of care.
Enhanced wellbeing: By accessing services such as allied health professionals, social support, and personal care assistance, you can improve your overall health and wellbeing. These services help manage existing health conditions, prevent further decline, and promote an active and happy lifestyle.
Peace of mind for families: Home care packages provide reassurance to family members knowing that their loved ones are receiving the care and support they need. Families can have peace of mind knowing that their loved ones can age in a familiar, comfortable place while receiving professional assistance.
Flexibility and choice: With home care packages, you have the freedom to choose your care providers, the types of services you receive, and when those services are delivered. This flexibility allows you to maintain control over your care and tailor it to your own preferences.
Social engagement: Loneliness and social isolation can be significant challenges for many older Australians living at home. Home care packages can include social support services, allowing you to continue to engage in social activities, pursue hobbies, and maintain connections within your communities.
Living at home for longer: For many older Australians, their homes hold sentimental value and cherished memories. Home care packages allow you to age, and access the care and services you need, in the comfort and familiarity of your own home, which helps you to maintain irendependence.
Holistic approach to care: Home care packages recognise the importance of holistic care, addressing not only physical needs but also emotional, social, and mental health. By providing access to allied health services, social support, and personalised care, you can experience comprehensive care that supports your overall wellbeing.
Home care packages are a valuable resource for older Australians who wish to receive personalised care and support while living at home. Through a comprehensive assessment process, individuals can access government-funded services that cater to their unique needs, promoting independence, wellbeing, and quality of life.
With a range of services available, including personal care, allied health services, meal preparation, and social support, home care packages offer you the flexibility and choice needed to create a care plan that suits your individual preferences. These packages empower you to remain in your own home, surrounded by familiarity, while receiving the necessary assistance to maintain your health and independence.
While waiting for a home care package, individuals can explore interim support options such as the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) to receive basic care and assistance. Additionally, it’s essential you use this time to engage in financial planning, research service providers, and involve your loved ones and family members in the decision-making process to ensure a smooth transition into the home care system.
Home care packages provide a person-centered approach to aging, promoting dignity, choice, and control. By accessing the comprehensive support available, you can enjoy the benefits of personalised care, ongoing assistance, and a fulfilling lifestyle in the comfort of your own home.
Here to support you
At Respect, we’re passionate about supporting older Australians to ensure the next phase of their lives are filled with purpose and possibilities.
Whether it’s through our network or aged care homes or our home care support options, we are here for you and your family whenever you need us. Your future should shine with meaning, comfort and conveniences — and with our support, you’re backed by over a century of care and consideration for the way you want to live.
For more information about how to access a home care package and get started with home care support, including the available opportunities and our range of services, download our digital brochure. Got questions or like to receive more support? We’re here to help. Please reach us via our contact page or call us on 1300 144 144.
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