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Understanding Home Care Packages

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Understanding Home Care Packages

With recent changes to the delivery of Home Care Packages, it is harder than ever to get your head around how to get one, and how they work. Here, we try to demystify the process for you. Staying at home and living independently should be easy.

Applying for a Home Care Package (HCP)

If you have decided that you need a little, or a lot of help, to stay at home, you will need to apply for an assessment through My Aged Care. My Aged Care is the central point for information and access to the government’s aged care services.

You can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. They will complete a brief screening assessment on the phone to determine whether you might be eligible for a home care package. You will probably also need an in-home assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).

The ACAT team will decide what level of Home Care Package you need. If you have basic, low level needs you will receive a Level 1 package. People with many, or high level needs, may receive a Level 4 package. The amount of funding you get increases with each level.

Your Home Care Package

There is usually a waiting list for Home Care Packages, so you won’t be able to begin utilising your package as soon as you are approved. Once you can access your HCP, you will need to choose a provider.

Choosing a provider

It is important that you research home care providers in your area to ensure you’re getting a provider that is right for you. Your assessor may be able to help you, or you can use the service finder on the My Aged Care website to find local providers.

Some questions you might like to ask prospective providers are (from the My Aged Care website):

  • what services they offer and how much will the services cost?
  • do they cater for any special requirements such as language and cultural diversity?
  • where and when will they provide support?
  • who will provide services?
  • what other amounts will be charged to your home care package fund and what do these cover?
  • what checks do they complete to ensure quality service?                                                                                                                       

If you would like to be able access your choice of carers through Find A Carer, ask the provider if they happy to assist you with this.

Your care plan

Once you have your HCP referral number, you can give this to your chosen provider.

Together you will develop a care plan and sign a Home Care Agreement.

When the ACAT assessed you, they would have identified some of your care needs. With your home care provider, you should discuss these needs and the goals you have, to determine which services will form your care plan.

Your care plan also details from where the services will be accessed, when and where the services will be provided, how much they will cost, and how much involvement you want in the coordination of the services.

There is now a high emphasis on the importance of consumer-directed care, so this is the time to talk with your provider about choosing the services and providers that you want. You can ask your home care provider to access services through Find A Carer – this way you can have the most choice and control over who comes to provide care to you.

When things change

You can redesign your care plan if you need to add or change services to meet your goals. If your care needs increase, you may need to be reassessed by an ACAT for a higher level plan.

You can choose to change home care providers at any time, but be sure to check your Home Care Agreement to see what notice you need to give your provider, and if there are any exit fees you will need to pay. Any unspent funds from your package will move with you to your new provider.

Further information

There is more information about Home Care Packages on the My Aged Care website, or you can call them 1800 200 422 if you have questions.

If you would like to know more about how to use your Home Care Package to access services through Find A Carer, call us on 1300 177 877.

Find a Carer

Published 14 Oct 2021

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