Home Care Packages - How To Apply in 5 Simple Steps
16 May, 2023
Realising that you or someone you love is getting older and is in need of additional support can be a confronting and difficult experience. You may feel overwhelmed or confused. However, this change in life circumstances does not mean that you or your loved one has to give up their independence or leave their home. In home care can be a great option for many people. This article aims to give you all the information you need in order to apply for in home care.
It's important to remember that life transitions are never easy. If you find the process stressful or confusing, you can always reach out for support by speaking to My Aged Care, your healthcare provider, or a trusted family member or friend.
What Are Home Care Packages?
Home Care Packages are part of a government-funded program that provides older Australians with the support they need to continue living independently in their own homes.
The program is designed to help people who need regular assistance with everyday tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, shopping, and personal care.
How Do I Know if I Need a Home Care Package?
Here are some ways to determine if you or your loved on may need a Home Care Package:
You're having difficulty with daily tasks: If you're having difficulty with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, or cleaning, a Home Care Package may be able to provide you with assistance.
You require ongoing medical care: If you require ongoing medical care, a Home Care Package can help you with things like managing medication, wound care, and liaising with your healthcare team.
You're experiencing social isolation: If you're feeling lonely or isolated, a Home Care Package can provide you with social support and help you to stay connected to your community.
You want to stay in your own home: If you want to stay in your own home as you age, a Home Care Package can help you to do so by providing the support you need.
Who Can Apply for Home Care Packages?
To be eligible for a home care package, you must:
Be 65 years or older (or 50 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people), or 50 years or older (or 45 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) and on a low income, homeless or at risk of being homeless;
Be a permanent resident of Australia or an Australian citizen;
Be able to live safely at home with the support of a home care package; and
Meet the relevant income and asset tests;
Have been assessed by the Australian Government's Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) as needing a home care package.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Home Care Package?
Once you have been assessed as eligible for a home care package ACAT, the wait time for receiving a package can range from a few weeks to several months.
Once you have been allocated a home care package, you will need to work with your chosen provider to develop a care plan that meets your needs and goals. This process can take a few weeks or longer, depending on the complexity of your needs and the availability of your provider.
How Much Does a Home Care Package Cost?
Home care packages are funded by the Australian Government and there are different levels of funding available depending on the level of care needed.
For some individuals, the costs of their home care package will be covered entirely by the government, for others, they will have to contribute to the costs of the home care package fees through the Income Tested Care Fee.
Income Tested Care Fee
The Income Tested Care Fee is a fee that some individuals may be required to pay towards their home care package.
The fee is means-tested and is based on an individual’s assessable income and assets. The fee only applies to individuals who have been assessed as having the financial capacity to contribute towards their care.
There is a cap for this fee which is currently set at $29,068.41.
What if I Only Need Help in a Few Areas?
If you only need support in a few areas of life, or you need support while you’re waiting for your Home Care Package, some basic subsidised home support is available through the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
What Type of Aged Care is Included in Home Care Packages?
Home care packages typically include a range of services and supports designed to help people live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. The specific types of care included in a home care package will depend on the individual's needs, preferences, and goals, as well as the funding level and package type they have been assigned.
Some of the common types of basic care and services that may be included in a home care package are:
Personal care, such as assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting
Domestic assistance, such as help with cleaning, laundry, and meal preparation
Allied health services, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and podiatry
Nursing care, such as wound management and medication management. Home Care package funds do not cover medical care covered in the medicare benefits schedule.
Social support, such as assistance with social outings and activities
Transport services, such as assistance with attending medical appointments and running errands
Assistive technology and home modifications, such as mobility aids, bathroom modifications, and home security.
Other specialist services are also available depending on an individual's particular needs.
Levels of Home Care Packages
There are four levels of home care packages available, ranging from basic support needs to high-level care needs.
The level of package you receive will depend on your package level, assessment and individual circumstances.
How do I Apply for a Home Care Package?
To apply for a home care package, you will need to follow these steps :
Step 1 - Contact My Aged Care and Request an Assessment
My Aged Care is the starting point to access government-funded aged care services in Australia. Contact My Aged Care by phone on 1800 200 422 or visit the My Aged Care website (https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/) to arrange an assessment.
My Aged Care is designed to help older Australians navigate the aged care system and not only can they start the application process for you, but that they can also provide you with information, guidance, and support throughout the entire application process.
Step 2 - Meet with the Aged Care Assessment Team
A representative from My Aged Care will conduct a free assessment to determine your eligibility for a home care package. This assessment will consider your health, support needs, and personal preferences.
Step 3 - Wait for Confirmation of Your Home Care Package
If you are eligible, you will receive approval for a home care package. You will then be placed on a national priority list for funding.
Step 4 - Choose a Provider
Once you have been approved for a home care package, you will need to choose a provider. My Aged Care can provide you with a list of approved home care package providers in your area.
Home care providers, like Focus Care, assist with managing your home care package funds, and can help you to access affordable care services that you or your loved one require.
Step 5 - Create a Care Plan
You will work with your chosen provider to create a care plan that outlines the services you will receive, the frequency of services, and the costs.
How Can Focus Care Help?
Focus Care is a trusted provider of home care services 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.