A Guide to The Aged Care Packages Available to Seniors
12 August, 2023
Seniors in Australia have access to various Australian Government-funded aged care packages designed to provide them with the necessary support and assistance to maintain their independence and quality of life.
However, understanding the different levels of support and how to navigate the application process can be a difficult and frustrating experience.
To try and make things a little bit easier, we have created this guide which will explore the different types of aged care packages available to seniors, the eligibility criteria, and how to apply for support. Our hope is that this information will allow you to find the aged care package that suits you best and will allow you to live your best life.
What Are Aged Care Packages?
Aged care packages are Government funded support programs that can provide a range of services to eligible seniors to help them continue living independently in their own homes, or in aged care facilities if required.
The packages cover a wide range of services, including personal care, nursing, domestic assistance, social activities, and other support services that seniors may require as they age.
What Are The Types of Aged Care Packages?
In Australia, there are four main types of aged care packages. These are the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), Home Care Packages (HCP), Flexible Care and Residential Aged Care.
Focus Care is a provider of home care services funded privately and through Home Care Packages (HCPs). To find out how to apply for a home care package and the kinds of support we can provide, check out our complete guide to in-home aged care.
Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme provides entry-level support for seniors who require some assistance to remain living independently at home.
CHSP offers a range of services such as transport, meals, home maintenance, and social activities. It is suitable for seniors who need help with 1 or 2 everyday tasks and do not require more intensive support.
Home Care Packages (HCP)
The Australian Government provides financial assistance in the form of Home Care Packages to assist people requiring higher levels of support, to stay in their own homes.
Aged Care Services Available Under an HCP
The range of professional and personal services available under home care package funding includes:
What Are The Levels of Aged Care Packages?
There are four levels of Aged Care Packages (aka home care packages), ranging from Level 1 - basic care needs - to Level 4 - high-level care needs.
Home Care Package Level 1 (HCP Level 1):
HCP Level 1 is the entry-level package that offers basic support and assistance to seniors who have relatively low care needs.
This level of package provides up to $10,271 annually in funding for services.
It can include services like domestic assistance, personal care, and support with daily living activities. This package is suitable for seniors who need a minimal level of care to remain independent in their homes.
Home Care Package Level 2 (HCP Level 2):
HCP Level 2 provides a higher level of care and support than Level 1. It is intended for seniors who require a moderate level of assistance and additional services.
This level of package provides up to $18,064 annually in funding to pay for services.
Home Care Package Level 3 (HCP Level 3):
HCP Level 3 offers a more intensive level of care and support for seniors with significant care needs. It usually includes a comprehensive range of services, such as specialized nursing care, continence management, and mobility aids in addition to personal care and mobility assistance. This package is suitable for seniors who require more extensive assistance to remain living in their own homes.
This level of package provides up to $39,311 annually in funding for services.
Home Care Package Level 4 (HCP Level 4):
HCP Level 4 is the highest level of support available under Home Care Packages. It provides a substantial level of care for seniors with complex and high-level care needs. This package can cover a wide range of services, including 24/7 care, palliative care, and other specialized services as required by the individual. HCP Level 4 is designed for seniors who have significant health challenges and require intensive support to continue living in their homes.
This level of package provides up to $59,594 annually in funding for services.
How About Flexible Care?
There are different types of flexible care, depending on the person’s needs. They all help with day-to-day tasks, and to restore or maintain independence.
Flexible care is for care recipients who need a different approach than what residential and home care can offer.
Short-Term Restorative Care Programme (STRC)
Short-Term Restorative Care is a program aimed at helping seniors regain their independence and improve their overall well-being. It provides care services for up to 8 weeks to individuals who delay or avoid long-term care.
A client can access 2 episodes of STRC within a 12-month period.
The support can take place in the person’s own home, an aged care (nursing) home or a combination of both.
A person is able to access both STRC and CHSP services. However, services must be different, yet complementary.
Multi-Purpose Services (MPS) Program
Multi-Purpose Services are available in some rural and remote areas and offer a combination of residential care, flexible care, and acute care services to meet the needs of the local community.
This program combines funding from the National Government and State and Territory health services.
Transition Care Program
The Transition Care Programme is aimed at seniors who have been in the hospital and require short-term care and support before returning home. TCP assists in the transition from hospital to home and may include services like rehabilitation, nursing, and personal care to aid in the recovery process for up to 12 weeks.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program
This program provides culturally appropriate aged care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander seniors, catering to their specific cultural needs and preferences. It is designed to deliver a flexible mix of residential, day-care, respite care, and community-based aged care.
Respite care supports individuals and their carers by giving them both a break for a short period of time. It can be of great benefit to family members or friends who are acting as carers. It can be accessed in the home, out in the community, or in an aged care home. Individuals may be eligible if they are an older person with a carer and their carer or family member is unable to care for them for some reason, or if they need a break from the usual care arrangements.
Residential Aged Care
For seniors with complex care needs that cannot be met at home, Residential Aged Care provides accommodation and comprehensive care services in dedicated aged care facilities.
This option is suitable for those who require 24/7 care and support due to medical or other specialized needs.
Eligibility and Assessment
To access any of the aged care packages mentioned above, seniors need to undergo an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria. The assessment evaluates the individual's care needs, medical requirements, income, and living situation to determine their eligibility and the appropriate level of care they require.
How to Apply for an Assessment Through The Aged Care Website
The assessment is free of charge, and seniors can request it by contacting My Aged Care, the government portal for aged care services. It is important to note that the demand for aged care services is high, and waiting periods may apply, especially for higher-level Home Care Packages and Residential Aged Care placements.
We Can Help
Many people find the process of accessing Aged Care Packages and Home Care Packages in particular, to be difficult and complex. That’s why the team at Focus Care is here to help you at every step along the way. We can even arrange a referral on your behalf for an ACAT assessment if you would like. Contact us for assistance.
How to Choose a Provider
Once you have received a letter from My Aged Care saying that a Home Care Package has become available and has been assigned to you, the final step is to choose a home care provider. Aged Care providers, like Focus Care, assist with managing your home care package funding and arranging the services that you or your loved one wants and needs.
Focus Care is a trusted provider of home care services and creative therapies and has helped many older Australians maintain their independence by providing in-home care based on individual choices, needs and goals. As an approved provider of Home Care Packages, we are experts in navigating the system and helping achieve superior outcomes and happiness in later life for our clients.
For more information on how we may be able to help you or a loved one with a Home Care Package or if you want to change providers, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Focus Care for some expert advice.