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Home care may help to stay at home

Home care may help to stay at home

Home care may help you to stay in your home longer and take pressure off your family and friends. The opportunities to stay in the home are growing with more government focus and funding directed towards increasing the number of available packages.

A new approach for allocating and managing the government subsidised Home Care Packages commenced at the end of February. The aim is to give you greater control and flexibility over your home care support.

An overview of the main steps under the new system are:

  1. Assessment – arrange for an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/ACAS) to visit you in your home to assess your eligibility
  2. Waiting list – if you are approved by ACAT/ACAS you will be added to the National Queue to wait for a package to become available
  3. Do your research – while waiting for allocation of a package start to research approved home care providers in your area as you will need to choose one to administer your package
  4. Allocation –  you will be notified in writing when a package becomes available and will be provided with a unique referral code
  5. Select a provider – contact your selected provider and develop a budget and care plan
  6. Sign agreement – sign a home care agreement with the provider and give them your referral code so they can unlock the money and secure the package for you (this needs to be done within 56 days of allocation)
  7. Implement care plan– work with your provider to arrange implementation of the care plan and start accessing services
  8. Fee assessment – the government will calculate and advise the fees you can be asked to pay towards your home care package. If you are a self-funded retiree you can either fill in an income assessment form or agree to pay the maximum income-tested fee
  9. Monitor – monitor your care plan and quality of services. You will receive a monthly invoice detailing how the money is being spent. If you are unhappy with the service provider you are free to switch to a new provider but an exit fee may apply.

Gaining the maximum value from home care packages requires an understanding of your options and rights. It is important that you become involved in making decisions on the services you want to receive or ask family members to help with these decisions.

It is too early to get an idea of how long you might wait in the queue to be allocated a package. Planning ahead to be prepared may help to reduce some of the stress. You may also need to have cashflow or financial resources to pay for private services while you are waiting.

Speak to us for help with understanding how you can make home care work for you and your options for funding the costs of care.

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