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Home Care Packages
December 9, 2021

What can home care package funds be used for?

The funding consumers receive in their Home Care Package can be spent upon a wide range of community care services, social supports and well-being services with an approved provider. This article will provide information about all the options approved funders can use to give patients the most benefits with their approved package.

What can home care package funds be used for?

What is a home care package?

Home care packages are a programme subsidised by the Australian Government to help Australians maintain their safety and independence at home when they are hindered by age or disability.

The funding consumers receive in their Home Care Package can be spent upon a wide range of community care services, social supports and well-being services with an approved provider. This article will provide information about all the options approved funders can use to give patients the most benefits with their approved package.

Who is eligible?

An assessment determines your eligibility, but you must be:

  • an older person who needs the coordination of these services to help them stay at home, or
  • a younger person with a severe disability, dementia or other care needs not catered for by other specialist services.

Your financial situation won't affect your eligibility. But you will need an assessment to work out exactly how much you may be asked to contribute.

How to apply:

First, you need to sign up for an assessment from a qualified Home Care Provider: here is a link to My Aged Care (the online application only takes about 15 minutes to fill in).

After your initial assessment, an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will come to your house to assess which level of service you require and which home care package funding you are eligible for.

Depending on how much help you need, the ACAT team will approve you for one of four different levels of care.

Levels of Home Care Package:

The first two levels are for those who need some assistance - help with preparing and cooking meals, shopping, housework and laundry.

The third level is for those who need a high level of assistance - you will need tasks such as feeding yourself, getting dressed and going to the toilet.

Finally, the fourth level is for those with complex or severe needs- these people may require 24-hour care from a Home Care Package provider.

If you only need a couple of services, you may be best suited with the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

How does it work?

Depending on how much assistance you require to live independently, you will be authorised for a particular degree of care. The amount of public money included with each Home Care Package level is predetermined, and it will be paid directly to the providers(s) you select.

Depending on your income, you may be asked to contribute to the cost of your Home Care Package yourself.

Home-care package providers and support services are available all over the country. You can allocate the funds however you choose, and different providers charge differently for the same services, so it can be worth shopping around to get the best deal for your allowance!

What does it cost?

Your contribution is means-tested i.e. linked to how much you can afford.

  1. A basic daily fee of up to $11.02
  2. An Income-tested care fee (up to $31.63 from 20 September 2021)
  3. Plus any other amount you have agreed to pay for extra care and services that your Home Care Package wouldn't otherwise cover.

What IS included:

  • Personal care

-If your motor skills or strength have deteriorated, you can get help with your personal care and hygiene, including bathing and personal grooming.

  • Nursing

-You can get help managing and monitoring any conditions you have, such as diabetes.

  • Therapies

-Any physio you need or help with your movement and mobility.

  • Meals and food preparation

-If your restrictions have impacted your ability to feed yourself regularly and properly, the package helps out here.

  • Help with impairment

Whether it's an impairment (like eyesight issues) or conditions (like incontinence), the packages proved support here if needed.

  • Cleaning, laundry and other chores
  • Home and garden maintenance
  • Transport

-From keeping appointments to ensuring that your mobility issues don't affect your ability to enjoy lifes more social pleasures, the package can help you here.

Anything else?

Home Care Packages ARE flexible; there may be other care and services not listed above that you may need and benefit from. Together with your provider, you will establish whether they are necessary and whether they can be delivered within your Home Care Package budget.

A Home Care Package doesn't replace any other existing health programs on your Medicare Benefits Schedule. You should continue to use these through your physician and hospitals if and when you need them.

What ISN'T included

A good rule of thumb is that what you would typically pay from your income yourself won't be included in the package's funding.

So they won't pay for your groceries- but special food purchases for enteral feeding requirements are included).

They won't pay for your rent- but home modifications that are necessary for accessibility likely will).

They won't pay for your entertainment- no club memberships, no tickets to the Opera House or Flemington!- but activities that help you stay connected in your community might.

Holiday trips are excluded, but a health-related retreat could be included.

Conclusion

I hope this article has given you a better idea of what Home Care Packages do and what they can do for you (or your loved one).

Remember, these are just the general guideline as every package is tailored to the applicant's specific needs.