Embarking on the journey of home care can be daunting. Whether you’re going down this route for yourself or for a loved one, there are many considerations to make along the way. To begin with, you may wonder whether there are any other possible options available to you. You may struggle on at home alone, or try to take on some bare care tasks for someone you care about. Of course, neither of these options tend to work out in the long run. There’s a pretty high chance that, eventually, you’ll come to realise that home care is the best option for everyone. With a carer onboard, after all, you can live the life that you’ve been missing for a few years now. Even if that care is for someone else, you’ll be able to rest easy that your loved one is getting the help that they need.
Even once you’ve decided that home care is your best option, though, there are plenty of other considerations to take on board. Namely, how can you afford to take this journey? In general terms, care is far from cheap. Understandably, you can expect to pay above the odds to have care brought right into the comfort of your home. Many people put off making this decision because they’re afraid about losing their life savings. But, when it comes to good home care, money needn’t actually be a worry.
That’s because the Australian government offer funded care packages which mean you needn’t spend a penny here. They’ve put a great deal of effort and money towards helping elderly citizens avoid care homes. So much so that there are now four care package options available. Each of these brings a whole host of different benefits to any patients accessing Australian in-home care.
Of course, as with anything government funded, you can’t just click your fingers and get this care. The top-tier package here is pretty pricey, after all. As such, you or your loved one will need to undergo testing to prove eligibility for options like these. A code is then provided which can be handed straight to Home Caring in exchange for services. But, what exactly does this testing entail?
What to expect from your assessment
Assessments into care package eligibility are carried out by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) in your local area. You can book an appointment by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 and keeping your Medicare card to hand, along with your doctor’s details. During this call, you’ll be asked about your living situation and your current health, as well as any struggles you experience. You should aim to answer these questions with as much accurate details as you can. Based off these answers, your team will either keep you on record for a later date or arrange the assessment you need for funding. If they deem an assessment necessary, you’ll receive a home visit from a nurse, social worker, or other such professional. They’ll then observe your situation and ask further questions about your health. The chances are that you’ll also be asked about your preferences at this time. After the visit, you can expect to hear back about whether you’ve been approved, and which package you’re eligible to receive. Depending on what your allocation is, you’ll also receive your code to pass onto whichever care provider you then choose. Bear in mind that you can appeal a decision if you aren’t happy with it. You can also revisit the assessment process if your needs change later on. Of course, none of that will be possible if you don’t have some idea of what each package offers. That’s why we’re going to break each one down for you.
For individuals with basic care needs
$8,250 per year
Level 1 is the most basic, and thus cheapest offering on the table. This is ideal for those individuals who want to/can remain mostly self-sufficient. With this option, you’ll receive basic care services to allow you to stay as independent as possible. If you receive this level of funding, you can expect a carer to visit twice a week and take care of tasks around the home which you struggle with, including –
- Cleaning around your home
- Basic personal care tasks
- Some help with meals where necessary
- Assistance with your shopping
- Access to transport where wanted
This package is ideal if you want a care option which doesn’t impact your life. If you experience difficulties getting around with ease but are still able to function, you may end up with this option to start with. Once a care team are onboard in this basic manner, you may even find that you’re able to keep your health steady and avoid further decline. Even if you’re unsure about whether home care is for you, then, it may be worth getting yourself assessed with this option in mind.
For those with low-level care needs
$15,000 per year
In many ways, the level 2 care package isn’t all that different from what you can expect with level one. Again, this option is for individuals who can look after themselves for the most part. You can also expect to see the same offerings from your provider as those outlined above. The main difference here is mostly the regularity with which you can expect to see this help. With this option, your carer would attend three or four times a week. As such, many people who live alone or feel isolated find that this is a better option for them. This way, you know for sure that you have regular care coming your way. This is also ideal if you’re unable to drive, as you can make use of transport on a more regular basis without having to worry. That can ensure that you don’t have to rely on your loved ones to get by. It can also save you from falling foul to any risk of loneliness.
For those with intermediate care needs
$33,000 per year
The difference between levels 2 and 3 is much more substantial. That’s because this option is aimed towards those with far more intermediate care needs. This is for people who are starting to struggle being at home alone. Individuals with drastically reduced mobility may rely on this option. Equally, those with conditions which need constant attention may find themselves here. That’s because, with this option, caregivers will attend your home most days of the week. Individuals who receive this package also have access to more specialised care options like –
- Virtual nursing
With this care package, you would be able to rest easy that qualified professionals are close to hand when you need them. Access to further services could also ensure that you cut back on hospital appointments which you struggle to attend. Instead, you’d be able to receive much of the care you need without having to go anywhere. You could also feel much safer at home knowing that carers would attend every day and could act fast should you injure yourself or otherwise fall foul. This option is also fantastic for those who live alone, as it provides companionship and a much easier way to socialise every single day.
For individuals with high care needs
$50,250 per year
The highest tiered option is the most expensive by far. It’s also for individuals who need high levels of care, including daily visits. This option provides a chance for users who would have once gone into care to stay at home longer. With this option alone, more older adults can stay at home for the duration of their lives. That can make a massive difference to their quality of life, as well as maintaining a sense of freedom. This tier offers all the benefits mentioned above, and many besides. It is the ideal care plan for individuals suffering from conditions which need monitoring. If you’re on medication, level four care can ensure you receive ongoing management. This level also ensures that even individuals with dementia can continue living at home for a lot longer than they would have otherwise. It is unlikely that you’ll enter the system at this stage, but level four is worth bearing in mind if you have ongoing health conditions which threaten to worsen.
As you can see, there is comprehensive cover on offer for near enough every level of care you could imagine. As such, there’s a high chance that assessment here will lead to an improved quality of life later on. Not to mention that even starting on a low tier gets you into the system. There’s then a pretty high chance that you’ll be able to move onto higher levels as and when you need to. Given that average wait times for acceptance onto the upper tiers can range from 18-24 months, then, it’s worth applying as soon as you start to struggle. There really is no reason to carry on as you are. In fact, attempting to do so could damage the prospects of your health further.
As if the temptation of reliable care itself weren’t enough, consider that, according to Aged Care’s website –
- 86% of users are satisfied with the care they receive from this tier system, with many stating that the service more than met their expectations.
- Around 80% of participants were happy with the information they received both before and during the assessment process.
- Almost 65% of users were satisfied with their funding allocation/designated package.
- 65% of participants were also happy with the amount of time they had to choose a care provider after their allocation was given.
As you can guess from that last statistic, you’ll also need some idea of which care provider would best serve your needs. This is the only decision you have total control over throughout this process. To make sure that you get it right, consider the following –
Are there consultations on offer?
At Home Caring we offer consultations for potential new patients, and any reliable provider should do the same. Even with a set care package, carers need to talk to you about your specific needs. Only then can they tailor your care towards precisely what you require. By setting up a consultation early on, you can also ensure that your care plan is ready to go when you receive the code you’re waiting on.
What do their services include?
For the most part, you’ll find that all home care providers follow a basic plan, but you should still take time to research this. It may be that some home care providers don’t have easy access to patient transport, for instance. You may even find that certain providers can’t access outside services. Instead, look for extensive care offerings from any provider you consider.
What about ease of use?
The last thing you want is a care provider without easy to use services. If you need to, it’s vital that you can contact or cancel carers for the day at a moment’s notice. But, that’s never going to happen if a provider relies on outdated phone systems. Instead, look out for options like our online services. These ensure you can keep in touch at the click of a button, and never need to chase your carer once your package starts.
Look out for reviews
Lastly, you could always head to the review page of the carers you’re considering. This will tell you whether the company are worth your time. Best-rated professionals like Home Caring are sure to serve your needs better, even when using the same funding package.
Home care packages can seem daunting but, as you can see from this article, they’re quite simple once you break them down. What’s more, the four tiers of this method ensure that there’s something for everyone. Stop putting your care off for fear of finances, then. Contact My Aged Care today, and settle on the right provider for you.