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What Can I Use My Home Care Package For?

14 March, 2023

Understanding what your home care package can and can't be used for may be difficult. This can be especially true if you are facing a range of other challenges in your life at the same time.

In order to help guide you through this process, this article aims to provide some clarification and some useful information about the process of allocating your In Home Care Funds correctly.

Government Funding for Care at Home

Home Care Packages (HCP), provide government-funded support for older people who wish to live independently in their own home for as long as possible. The purpose of the packages is to provide assistance with daily tasks and support individuals with maintaining health and well-being. While the system may appear complicated, it's vital to understand how your package works.

What Can I Use My Home Care Package Funds For?

The funds from a Home Care Package can be used for a variety of services and supports, including:

  • Social Support: Social support aims to help you stay connected to the people, places, interests and things that matter most to you. It can involve outings in the community to see friends and family and visits your favourite places as well as one on one time spent with your support worker. Social support can be one of the most valuable services provided by support workers.

  • Personal care: Personal care includes personal hygiene and toileting, as well as dressing and maintaining your personal appearance. Personal care can be a vital part of helping you look and feel your best.

  • Domestic Assistance: Domestic assistance is assistance with everyday household tasks . This can include dishwashing, laundry, house cleaning, garden care, clothes washing, shopping and paying bills.

  • Transport: This includes getting to and from appointments, social outings and the shops.

  • Home Nursing and Allied Health Professionals: If you have medical needs such as diabetes, your funds can be used to pay for nurses. Alternatively, allied health professionals can visit you at home and help you stay independent. These allied health professionals can include occupational therapists, psychologists, counsellors and physiotherapists.

  • Creative Therapies: Your funds can also be used for creative therapies that can assist with your wellbeing. They can help you explore your creativity, engage with others and express yourself. You can use your home care package funds for creative therapies such as art, music, dance and pet therapy.

It's important to note that not all home care package providers offer creative therapies.

What Else Can My Home Care Package Pay For?

Homecare packages can also be used to cover a range of other things related to aged care. These include:

  • Nutrition, hydration and meal preparation: Meal preparation and assistance with eating is also covered. This includes special diets for religious, cultural or health reasons.

  • Mobility and dexterity aids: Items such as crutches, walkers and walking sticks, as well as mechanical devices for lifting, slide sheets and pressure-relieving mattresses are all covered.

  • Home alterations: Alterations made to your home to help you move around your house more easily are also covered. This can include things like new ramps or bathroom alterations to increase space to allow for lifting devices or to install shower seats.

  • Telehealth: Home care packages can also be used for telehealth appointments.

  • Respite care: Packages can be used to pay for support workers to come to the home to care for an individual while a family members who usually act as carer takes a break.

What Can I Not Use My Home Care Package For?

There are certain things that you are not allowed to use your Home Care Package for. These include:

  • Items that would normally by purchased out of general income: Items such as groceries, clothing, or travel are not covered. This also includes non-approved services such as cosmetic medical procedures or beauty treatments.

  • Payment for permanent accommodation: This covers assistance with purchasing property, mortgage and rent payments.

  • Payment of aged care fees: This category refers to fees that you owe to your aged care provider.

  • Payment of fees or charges for other types of care funded by the Australian Government: You cannot use your home care package to pay for dental care as a well as a number of other health services.

  • Travel and accommodation for holidays: In addition to travel costs, the cost of entertainment activities such as club memberships and tickets to events are not covered.

  • Payment for things covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme: This includes visits to your GP and medications you need a script for.

It's a good idea to discuss these restrictions with your Home Care Package provider to ensure that you are using your funds in a way that is consistent with government guidelines.

How Much do I Have to Spend?

It's important to note that the specific services and supports that you can access with a Home Care Package vary depending on your home care package budget.

Homecare packages have four levels. Your eligibility for each level will vary according to the amount you need to maintain your independence, from basic care to high-level care.

Regional Assessment Service

If you only need low-level support to stay independent in your home, you may only require an assessment with a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) assessor. They will assess whether you need support under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. 

The Aged Care Assessment Team

If, however you require a higher level of support, you may be visited by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). Your home care package funding depends on your individual needs and circumstances.

What Level of Package of Care at Home am I Eligible For?

The levels of funding are as follows:

  1. Level 1 Home Care Package: This is for people with basic care needs and provides up to $8,000 per year in government subsidies.

  2. Level 2 Home Care Package: This is for people with low-level care needs and provides up to $14,000 per year.

  3. Level 3 Home Care Package: This is for people with intermediate care needs and provides up to $34,000 per year.

  4. Level 4 Home Care Package: This is for people with high-level care needs and provides up to $52,000 per year for complex care.

It's important to note that the actual amount of funding that you receive may vary depending on a number of factors, including the specific terms of your agreement with your Home Care Package provider and the amount of funding available at the time. Additionally, the funding levels may change over time as the government updates its policies.

Income Tested Care Fee

You could be asked to pay an income tested contribution to your home care package fees if you have enough money. This will be in the form of an income tested care fee.

Speaking to a Team Member from Focus Care

While it's important to do your own research, speaking one-on-one to someone from an approved provider of home care packages such as Focus Care is the best way to understand the services and supports that may be available to you under your home care package. It’s important to note that not all home care package providers offer creative therapies such as art therapy and pet therapy and so it's advisable to do your research.

Our friendly support team is always on-hand to have a chat about your needs and the best way to provide you with ongoing support. So when you’re ready to talk, just reach out.

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