If you or a loved one are needing some extra help around the home to stay healthy and safe, a Home Care Package could be a great way to access affordable care and services.
As we get older, living independently can get a little more difficult. Simple things like showering, cleaning the house, cooking or shopping require a bit more energy and can become almost impossible without assistance.
A Home Care Package is a way to access affordable assistance with care and services to help you or a loved one remain at home, safely and comfortably.
What is the difference between a Home Care Package and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme?
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) helps senior Australians access basic support services to live independently and safely at home. It is designed for senior Australians who would like a little bit of extra support to improve their health and wellbeing, but mostly manage fairly well on their own at home. The CHSP is designed for short term or basic ongoing assistance with one or two services.
A Home Care Package (HCP) is for those with more complex needs, where a single provider is used to coordinate and deliver multiple care services to keep people healthy, active and well. Home Care Packages are not limited to Australians over 65, but also younger Australians with a disability, dementia or other care needs, who are not otherwise eligible for National Disability Insurance Scheme funding for home care services.
Eligibility for both the Home Care Package and Commonwealth Home Support Program is based on your care needs, as well as a face-to-face assessment to determine the services or level of care you might need.
|Home Care Package||Commonwealth Home Support Program|
|Funding or subsidy||Funding to use on services||Subsidised cost of services|
|Income assessment required?||Yes - to assess your contribution requirements||No|
|Service delivery||One service provider will coordinate and deliver your care and services||Multiple service providers can be used for care and assistance|
|Level of care required||Mid to high: multiple services needed to help you live at home||Low: one or two services to help you live at home|
|Eligibility||An older person who needs assistance in multiple areas to help them stay at home.|
A younger person with a disability, dementia or other care needs not met through other specialist services or programs.
|65 years or older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people)
50 years or older (45 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people) and on a low income, homeless, or at risk of being homeless.
How do Home Care Packages work? What is included?
A HCP enables you to choose your service provider, and the government pays your provider a subsidy to arrange a package of home care services. There are four levels of funding available, ranging from basic care to high care needs. The same type of care and services are available at each level, but the hours of care available to use increase at each level.
The four levels* of Home Care Package are:
- Level 1: basic care needs, approximately $8,750 of funding per year
Basic assistance, designed to provide extra support to help you stay in your home. You could receive one or two visits from a care worker each week, plus some assistance with chores around the house or personal care and hygiene.
- Level 2: low care needs, approximately $15,250 per year
Low level assistance care might include three or four visits each week from a care worker, as well as some assistance around the house, such as cleaning, gardening or cooking, and some help with personal care, such as showering or getting ready for the day.
- Level 3: intermediate care needs, approximately $33,500 per year
If you need a bit more support to stay at home, a Level 3 package could include visits from a care worker most days of the week, plus support from trained medical staff, such as massage or physical therapy, along with assistance around the home.
- Level 4: high care needs, approximately $50,570 per year
A high level care package includes medical, nursing and domestic assistance. This package might include a visit from a care worker or nurse every day of the week, with medical or nursing support available for complex health needs.
* Funding levels are up to date as of August 2019. For the most up to date funding levels, visit the My Aged Care website.
How can I get a Home Care Package?
To receive a Home Care Package, you will need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). This team might consist of doctors, nurses, social workers or other health professionals who can assess your health and wellbeing, and provide a recommendation on the care you might need to remain healthy and safe at home. Once the ACAT assessment has been completed, you’ll receive a letter outlining the types of services you have been approved for.
Your level of income won’t affect whether or not you can gain access to a Home Care Package, but you will need a financial assessment to work out how much you should be contributing in fees.
How much does a Home Care Package cost?
If you are aged over 65 years, you may be liable for some fees related to your Home Care Package. These could include:
- A basic daily fee, based on the level of your Home Care Package and nominated by your service provider; and
- An income-tested care fee, determined through a formal income assessment by the Department of Human Services.
Additional fees you might need to pay could include the cost for other care services that isn’t otherwise covered by your Home Care Package. The My Aged Care website has a home care fee estimator which may help to inform you of any costs you may incur.
How quickly can I get a Home Care Package?
Waiting periods for Home Care Packages range from 3 months to 12+ months, and depend on which level of package you are eligible for. Those with higher or more complex care needs are prioritised to receive services.
Am I eligible?
Eligibility is based on need, assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). If you have noticed a change in what you are able to do or remember; experienced a recent medical condition diagnosis or reduced mobility; experienced a change in your usual care arrangement; or had a recent fall, injury or hospital admission, you may be eligible for support in the form of a Home Care Package.
To learn if you are eligible for a Home Care Package, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, or check the My Aged Care website.