Home Care refers to services to help you live independently in your own home and community for as long as possible.
These services might include home modifications, and access to support packages and community services covering personal care, home help, gardening and maintenance, transport, meals and access to therapy services in the home or centre-based.
What do you want and need from services in the home?
Issues to consider
- Access to assistance with medications, for example, community nursing, Hospital In the Home
- Disability access, eg for a wheelchair or frame
Government funded services are means-tested. If you have independent income this will affect your contribution to these services. Remember to consider your quality of life – the reason for saving the retirement nest-egg is to have a comfortable life as we grow older. These services can help to extend the time you can live independently.
Services will vary from state to state and some will require a referral from a general practitioner and/or your HTC or a review by an occupational therapist.
Links to more information are at the end of this page.
Independent living units or retirement communities
Retirement villages or communities offer a range of different accommodation for older people who are actively independent and able to care for themselves. This might be one, two or three bedroom accommodation and includes:
- Independent living units or villas
Services and amenities available vary but are usually described on their websites. Some villages or communities also offer:
- communal spaces such as lounges and dining areas, and spaces for functions with family and friends
- additional services, for example, home care, transport, facilities such as an onsite hairdressing salon or a gym, and visiting health care practitioners, including nurses.
ACCESSING HOME CARE SERVICES
You may be eligible to access home care services through:
- Your local Council and some charities, who may provide some home care services
- Australian Government subsidised in home support or a Home Care Package
- Choosing to use a private provider – see PRIVATE SERVICES
Local Council services for older residents vary from Council to Council. They may include free community buses or subsidised transport, help in the home or with shopping or social activities. Contact your local Council to find out more.
ACCESSING GOVERNMENT-FUNDED SERVICES
To qualify for government funding support for Home Care you will need to contact My Aged Care to register and seek an assessment. The assessment will clarify whether you require:
You might like some support, a partner, relative or friend, present during the assessment. An interpreter can also be arranged. You or a family member or carer can also apply for an assessment online at myagedcare.gov.au/assessment/apply-online
ENTRY LEVEL CARE
Entry level care includes personal care, providing meals or shopping, transport assistance, equipment such as ramp, walking frame or shower rail to help you live independently.
Commonwealth Home Support Programme
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) helps senior Australians access entry-level support services to live independently and safely at home.
You will first need an assessment by a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) to determine if the CHSP is the right program for you.
An assessor from RAS will visit you for the assessment, which is free. They will ask questions about your personal situation, health, and what support you might be receiving. The assessment will detail your needs and goals, and what services are needed to achieve those.
A CHSP can also help your carer. If your carer needs to attend to everyday activities, the CHSP can arrange for someone to help you while they are away.
On completion of the assessment you will be given a referral code which you will need to access services. Alternatively, RAS can make a referral to a CHSP provider following a discussion with you about the availability of services and your preferences.
Although CHSP is subsidised by the Government, generally there is still a fee for each service. How much you pay is discussed and agreed upon between you and your service provider. The rate is set before you begin receiving the relevant services.
MORE COMPLEX CARE
Home Care Packages (HCP)
There are four different levels of packages to support people with varying care needs:
The hours of care approved for funding are increased at each level of care.
To determine what level of care is appropriate for your needs, My Aged Care will refer you for a free assessment by a member of your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria.
For more information on an Aged Care Assessment, visit the Assessment section on My Aged Care.
- The assessment service will make an appointment for the assessment with you. They may ask your permission to talk to your doctor or specialist about your medical history before they meet with you. All information provided will be treated confidentially.
- The ACAT member will meet with you and undertake an assessment. With your consent, the ACAT member will make a formal decision about your care needs, your eligibility to receive a home care package and the level which meets your needs.
- You will receive an approval letter from My Aged Care that sets out the level and the priority assigned to you, with a referral code.
- You will then be placed in the national priority system for your approved Home Care Package level.
- You may not be found eligible for a Home Care Package, in which case you will receive a letter setting out why, and who to contact for more help.
To find a provider in your local area who best meets your needs:
- Use the Find a Provider tool on the My Aged Care website or
- Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to request a list of local providers
There may be a waiting list for a higher-level package and you may be offered an interim lower level package until one becomes available. My Aged Care can give you an estimate of your likely fees. If you are a self-funded retiree, or a part-pensioner and you do not receive a means tested income support payment, you will need to complete a formal income assessment form to determine your fee level. The exact fee level may then be negotiated with your chosen provider.
You can choose to access some or all of your home support services through a private home care provider without seeking government subsidies for them and pay the provider directly. Private home care providers offer a variety of services, including Registered Nurses for complex care needs, help in the home or with shopping, carers for social visits, physiotherapists and drivers. There is no limit to the number of hours of care provided and you only pay for the services you require.
You do not need a Government assessment for private home care services. The package will be arranged between you and the private home care company according to your needs and preferences.
For more information about private home care services and how to research them, visit the Private home care section on the Aged Care Guide website.
Your guide to Home Care Package services (Australian Government, last published 20 December 2021)
www.agedcareguide.com.au is a non-government website which publishes the DPS Publishing company Guide to Aged Care. This Guide is published annually, for each state and territory, and is a comprehensive directory listing all government funded aged care homes and approved home care package providers. It shows contact details and services included for each facility or care option.
Author: Leonie Mudge, Walpole Consulting Group
Reviewed and revised by: Kathryn Body, Haemophilia Foundation ACT Counsellor, Canberra.