What Is a Home Care Package (HCP)?

Our detailed guide will help you understand the intricacies of Home Care Packages. If you or your loved one want to apply, this article will make everything easier.

Haisey Home Care
May 2, 2024
x min read

Home Care Packages are part of a government-funded program for aged care.

To put it simply, Home Care Packages are for elderly Australians who need help staying independent at home. 

If you are over 65 and you don't want to move to a nursing home, this program may be the answer.

Home Care Packages offer long-term support and various aged care care services. For instance, help with daily tasks, nursing, therapy, and personal care.

There's much more to Home Care Packages to discuss before applying. To make an informed decision, be sure to go through this article. 

What Are the Four Levels of Home Care Packages?

My Aged Care funds four Home Care Package levels.

They include:

  1. Level 1 - Basic care needs
  2. Level 2 - Low-level care needs
  3. Level 3 - Intermediate care needs
  4. Level 4 - High-level care needs

Each level offers a specific level of care and support. 

They also come with different amounts of government funding. The higher the Home Care Package level, the higher the government subsidy.

Since level 1 is an entry-level package, it offers the lowest level of care and support. It covers basic care services, like cleaning and meal preparation.

Level 4 covers complex care needs, which is why it requires more funding. This can include specialised nursing and 24-hour care. 

The government funding, along with your contributions, make up your Home Care Package budget. 

Your HCP budget should cover hours of care, services, and HCP fees. But we'll talk more about that later. 

You can't choose your HCP level. You will rather be assigned to an HCP level based on your eligibility and care needs.

Are You Eligible for a Home Care Package?

You may be eligible for a Home Care Package if you are:

  1. An older Australian over the age of 65 (50 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people)
  2. A younger person with a chronic illness or a disability
  3. Recovering from surgery or hospitalisation
  4. Struggling with dementia or Alzheimer's disease
  5. An individual with reduced mobility

You can use the eligibility checker on the My Aged Care website to check. 

Regardless of what the checker tells you, you still have to go through a formal assessment to get a Home Care Package. 

This is otherwise called a Home Care Package assessment.

My Aged Care will assign you to a local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). 

During the assessment, you might be required to pay an income-tested care fee. This fee depends on your financial situation and how much care you need.

When you go through the assessment, you are free to apply for an HCP

You'll then be put on a waiting list. The waiting list is usually a few months long, but some individuals have to wait an entire year. 

How long you will wait depends on your assigned package level and the urgency of need. This gives you the time to research which provider meets all your needs.

My Aged Care will then contact you and tell you which HCP level you've been assigned to. 

At this point, you can choose your provider.

Choosing a Home Care Package Provider

Choosing a Home Care Package provider is an important decision. Your goal should be to choose affordable care services that can meet all your needs.

My Aged Care has a useful tool to help you find a care provider in your area.

There are two main types of Home Care Packages you can choose from. These include self-managed and provider-managed packages.

A self-managed package means that you will manage your own Home Care Package by:

  • Selecting your own support workers
  • Scheduling your own times
  • Choosing your services

A self-managed package will still include admin and other fees, but the fees are often lower.

In the case of provider-managed Home Care Packages, your provider will be responsible for managing your care. They will be in charge of the paperwork, payments, and finding suitable care workers.

These types of packages often have higher fees. But the quality of service is often better, as workers are vetted for the position.

Some home care providers charge a basic daily fee, which depends on your Home Care Package level.

There used to be an exit fee if you wanted to change providers. But, as of 2023, HCP providers can no longer charge this fee.

At Haisey Home Care, we charge a low flat fee for a provider-managed package.

What Is a Home Care Package Budget

A Home Care Package budget is the total amount of funding available. It's used to pay for your home care services. 

The HCP budget is made up of government funding and your contributions. The amount of funding available depends on your needs and circumstances.

This is the maximum amount the Australian Government can allocate for each level:

  1. Level 1 - $10,271.10 a year 
  2. Level 2 - $18,063.85 a year
  3. Level 3 - $39,310.50 a year 
  4. Level 4 - $59,593.55 a year

When you start working with a home care provider, the government will allocate those funds directly to your provider.

When it comes to your contributions, you might be asked to pay:

  • An income-tested care fee
  • A basic daily fee 
  • Additional fees

An income-tested care fee is calculated based on your financial circumstances. 

The fee is capped at certain limits. It's ensured that you don’t pay more than a certain percentage of your income.

Some providers, including Haisey Home Care, do not charge a basic daily fee.

Providers also charge a care management and package management fee. 

Once you subtract these expenses from your budget, you are left with the amount you can spend on care services.

What Services Do Home Care Packages Include?

Home Care Packages include different types of home care services. 

These aged care services include but are not limited to:

  • Personal care
  • Help with basic chores
  • Meal preparation
  • Medication reminders
  • Home modifications
  • Wound care
  • Social support
  • Occupational therapy
  • Transportation
  • Nursing care
  • Other specialist services

The services you will receive also depend on your care needs, which will be determined during your eligibility assessment. 

Home care services don't only include medical services. Home care providers can help with daily tasks and chores around the house. 

The goal of Home Care Packages is to make your life easier. You or your loved one will receive the necessary care in the comfort of your own home. 

There will be no need to move to an assisted living facility. Home Care Package providers bring the care to you.

What Services Are Not Included?

Your Home Care Package budget doesn't cover everything. This program isn't designed to be your sole source of income. 

Expenses not covered by your Home Care Package are those you would spend your own money on.

You can't use your Home Care Package budget to pay for:

  • Mortgage payments
  • Rent 
  • Property
  • Entertainment activities
  • Club memberships
  • Items already funded by the Australian Government

Naturally, you can't spend your HCP funds on rent, mortgage, or similar expenses. 

Any expenses funded or jointly funded by the Australian Government are not covered. These include the Medicare Benefits Schedule or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

There are some exclusions. 

For example, you would spend your general income on food. Home care services can cover the enteral feeding requirements payment.

You can't use your aged care funds for mortgage payments or rent. But you can use those funds for home modifications. This is helpful if you need to install safety tools in your home.

Benefits of Home Care Packages

Here are some reasons why you should sign up for a Home Care Package:

  1. Personalised care
  2. Independence and comfort
  3. Familiar environment
  4. Being able to remain living with your family members
  5. Flexible support services
  6. Improved quality of life
  7. Peace of mind

A Home Care Package could be the solution to all your problems.

Home Care Packages are an alternative to residential care. They allow elderly Australians to remain living at home. 

If you can access affordable care services, your life will be much easier. Your family can rest assured knowing their loved one is in safe hands.

If you want to know more about Home Care Packages, you can contact My Aged Care.

You can also reach out to Haisey Home Care. We would be happy to answer all your questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Home Care Packages are there in Australia?

There are four Home Care Package levels in Australia. 

When it comes to providers, there are 938 approved Home Care Package providers in Australia.

Where can I find information on Home Care Package costs?

The cost of a Home Care Package depends on the services included. They cost around $60-$80 per hour for individualised support.

Ask your provider for a schedule of fees. Haisey Home Care fees are listed on our website.

What's the difference between Home Care Packages (HCP) and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme?

Commonwealth Home Support Programme packages are made up of entry-level home care services

Home Care Packages provide care services for those with more complex needs.

I'm not eligible, what other options are there?

It's possible you're not eligible for a Home Care Package. 

If this is you, you can sign up for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

There are other structured programs. Some of them are funded by the federal government, which you might be able to use. 

You can contact My Aged Care. They will be able to tell you what government-funded aged services you might be eligible for.

You may find extra support from a family member, your community, or your social network. You can also use your own money or resources on care and services or by creating a network of people who may be able to help you.

Start Your Aged Care Journey with Haisey Home Care

If you're looking for comprehensive care services, look no further than Haisey Home Care. We offer low, competitive fees and no daily charges. 

You can use our services if you live in Melbourne or Sydney.

We aim to make your life at home as comfortable as possible. Leave all your care needs to our experienced staff.

You can book a free in-home consultation. You can also contact us for any questions about our services.