Many people defer the decision to apply for subsidised care services until circumstances reach a critical point. This can increase stress levels and put you or your family member at risk because the wait to access care can be long – especially for home care.
Approval for a home care package from an ACAT/ACAS team does not mean you can immediately access a package. It just allows your name to be added to the National Queue. You will still need to wait for a package to become available – either when the government releases new packages or someone no longer needs the package they were using.
It is hard to know how long you can expect to wait as the National Queue has only been operating since the end of February 2017. However, figures released recently by the Department of Health show that you can expect to wait more than six months. Warnings are provided on the myagedcare website that the wait could be more than 12 months.
This waiting time could also lengthen as the demand for home care increases. As at June 30, 2017 there are 53,750 people in the Queue waiting for a home care package to become available. A total of 70,579 packages had been allocated, but of these, 35,154 people had accepted an interim package at a lower level of care so they can start to receive some care.
What does this mean for you or an older family member?
- Book in an ACAT/ACAS assessment before the crisis critical point is reached
- If you are waiting for a package to become available, you may need to privately fund the full cost of care from your own resources – we can help with financial advice on planning and managing cashflow needs
- If care needs are urgent or severe, you may need to consider a move into residential care if you can find a place more quickly – but make sure you have discussed this with the ACAT/ACAS team to ensure they have given approval for both home and residential care
- Ask the ACAT/ACAS team to also approve respite care as this may provide some short-term support while you wait for a home care package to become available
- You may be able to top-up the support that family/friends can provide with services through the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
- If you are already in the National Queue you can gain an estimate of your expected waiting time by logging into your client record using MyGov or by calling the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422.