Do you need in-home support services? This could be specifically for you and your needs or that of a loved one. When considering this option one of the first factors that you will need to think about is funding. If you can’t afford to fund your home support out of your own pocket, you will also need to think specifically about government funding. There are options available to you here that you should be aware of.
Why Do You Need In-Home Support?
As individuals become older, they tend to lose their independence. This could be due to either a cognitive or physical decline. Issues including dementia and physical conditions such as arthritis become more common as we age. While some people will rely on their families for support, this may not be enough. It’s at this point that the support of in-home services will be required.
In-home services are beneficial because it does mean that you will not have to leave your home. Many people aren’t ready or are unwilling to transfer to a full-time care facility. Some people will also not require this option and living at home can allow you to retain more of their independence.
What Will The Government Provide?
You might be wondering how much support you can gain from the government in terms of funding. This will depend on several key factors. First, you need to choose a service provider. They will work with you to make sure that a personal budget is developed. This will include everything you need in your care package.
Be aware that what a government provides to you will not be the same as what they offer your friend or next door neighbor. As mentioned, it depends on several different variables.
Your level of government funding support will depend on your income. The government will assess your income to determine how much you are able to reasonably contribute to your in-home care. So, your package might have a fee of $50,000. The government could then decide that you can afford to pay $25,000 and then subsidise the other half. This will be paid directly to your service provider. Be aware that this subsidy can have a limit. These can be daily, annual or last the remainder of your lifetime. It’s also worth noting that if you are a couple the fee will be measured for half of the combined income that the two of you have.
Do note that some people are exempt from the income-tested fee. Again, this is entirely dependant on individual circumstances. People who are exempt may be receiving funding from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) or the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Exempt individuals include those who have a pension with no income support, individuals who are blind or have another form of disability and people who work as carers. These individuals will not need to complete the income-test.
How Do You Arrange An Income Assessment?
If you are keen to arrange an income assessment, then you can do this by contacting the DHS. They will be able to provide you with the Aged Care Fees Income Assesment-SA456 form. We can help you with filling out this form to ensure that the process goes smoothly. This is worth doing if you are retired and have not yet assessed what your income-tested care fee will be.
What If You Are Unable To Afford Home Care?
It is possible to contact the DHS to apply for a financial hardship grant. With this option, you can gain the funding and support you need even if you are unable to afford the cost. This could allow you to continue to live at home, even if you are in a difficult situation.
Choosing A Home Care Package
When you speak to your care provider, they will put together a home care package that you can rely on. According to research, the majority of the elderly population in Australia would prefer to continue living at home. A homecare package will allow this possibility.
The home care package is, as mentioned, subsidized by the Australian government to provide the right level of support to the people who need or require it.
A home care package with be put together based on individual needs. It will also need to be approved by an Aged Care Assesment team. There are various services that can be part of this plan. That includes home care, medical assistance, personal care, shopping assistance, home maintenance, support for recreational activities and much more. Again, this will not be chosen by you but instead based on your individual needs.
While home care packages can be completely customised with different levels of support, there are four main types that may be relevant for you. These are:
- Basic care
- Love level care
- Intermedia care
- High-level care
Regardless of what option is right for you, you may still need to pay an income-tested fee to contribute to the cost of your support. This will be the case if you are on a part pension or you are self-funding your retirement.
What Does An Assesment Involve?
If you require an aged care assessment, this will be scheduled through the Australian Government’s My Aged Care. Here a social worker, as well as a nurse, will visit you at home, determining what level of support you require and whether you are eligible.
The outcome of this assessment will be sent through the mail and you will be provided with full support. This will ensure that you have all the information that you require when proceeding. The level of support you receive will be entirely based on your interactions with your ACAT representative.
This representative will discuss a number of factors relating to your well-being, life situation and your health. They will use this to provide the most accurate income.
The areas assessed include physical needs to check whether you require support for mobility issues. They will explore your medical history to see if you are currently suffering from any medical conditions. Psychological needs will also be addressed to establish whether you might require something like dementia care. This could also determine whether you require more social interactions to benefit your cognitive health.
As well as this, you will be assessed for anything special requirements. For instance, you might require an oxygen tank or a wheelchair
Can You Ask Questions?
You can ask questions during this assessment. You will have the opportunity to make sure that you understand the process as well as any of the support options that you may require.
It is beneficial to ask about the type of care services available, how long it will take to receive your support services, the costs, and the funding. We have addressed many of the answers to these questions here.
Be aware that this assessment should not be intense or uncomfortable. It is intended to support you, not provide additional stress. Remember, you are the one being provided a service here. You have every right to ask about this service, what it covers and ensure that you have a full understanding.
It can take between two and sixteen weeks to schedule an interview for this assessment. Be aware that this will be largely dependent on your location and as such is not in your control. However, if there are special circumstances, then this can be far quicker. Indeed, it’s possible, when needs arise for this to be scheduled within 2 days.
The full assessment will not typically take more than an hour and the report with all the information will be received by you about two weeks later. As such, it is a relatively rapid process.
What Happens After The Assesment?
During the assessment, the level of care an individual requirements will be determined. However, levels of priority will also be explored here. If you are approved for a particular home care package, then you will be placed on a nation queue, until a package is available. Once a package is available, it will then be assigned to you.
Once care begins, approved providers must then deliver the care packages service through a consumer-directed care model.
Consumer Directed Care Explained
Consumer Directed Care or CDC ensures that you have flexibility and choice when living with a home care package. You can gain more choices and options, determining how your care is delivered, who delivers it and when they provide this service. Whether a care provider reaches your goals and needs will be determined by the Aged Care Assessment Team.
The provider you choose will also be responsible for providing the information you need to make completely informed decisions about your home care.
How Long Will It Take To Gain Access To A Care Package
Wait time will typically depend on the package you require as well as whether you are considered a high priority. A basic care package has a typical wait time of three to six months. The rest can take more than twelve however this will again depend on your level of need and the urgency of your particular case.
Services Covered Through Funded Home Care Packages
There are a variety of support options that can be covered and services that you may receive through your home care packages. These are:
- Personal Care – showering, grooming, and hygiene
- Allied health and therapy services – may include occupational and physical therapy
- Nursing – treating wounds and existing conditions
- Meal preparation – feeding and food preparation
- Domestic assistance – typical chores
- Home maintenance – keeping a home tidy or a garden well maintained
- Equipment – walking frames, shower chairs, and crutches
- Modifications – may include anything from ramps to rails
- Transportation – transport to GP, shops and other key locations
- Social support – ensuring individuals can interact in a community
Demand For Home Care Funding
As mentioned, more than 70% of elderly individuals in Australia are keen to access home care support and many of these people do require government funding. This is why it can take more than a year to gain the support you need. However, this is changing with more funding being injected into the system. In 2018, it was announced that $100 billion would be spent. This would be used to support training with a focus on in-home care and a promise to streamline the process.
The same report suggested that the new level of funding would provide support for over 100,000 individuals. These people were on a waiting list for care packages so this is certainly good news. However, there is some debate as to whether funding is simply being moved from residential care systems to home care support.
One claim suggests that $1.6 million that was intended for nursing homes will now support 14,000 home care packages. That said, with demand for in-home support services reaching such a high level, the redistribution is necessary and potentially advisable. It’s important to make sure that elderly individuals in Australia can get the support they need and specifically, the type that they want.
How We Help
At Home Caring, we know that getting the in-home support services that you need or want can be a stressful process. As you might now be aware, it’s also quite complicated with numerous factors and choices to consider. We think that everyone should be able to access the caregiver of their choice and take complete control over their care plan and schedule. So, that’s exactly what we provide.
From the moment you choose to apply for in-home support services, we’ll be there with you, helping you through every stage of the process. We can ensure you know what to expect during your assessment interview and we can also break down the care package that has been recommended for you. If you have any questions or queries, we will always be willing to answer them and ensure that you get the full information that you need to proceed with your care package and in home support solution.