Life can become a little bit more difficult to manage as we get older. Once we’re in our later years, we often need some additional help in at least one aspect of our lives. Ensuring that people can get the help they need is the idea behind home care packages, a government subsidy program that provides financial support for older Australians.
In this blog, you’ll learn some important information about home care packages, the cost of home care packages, and what you can use the package to buy.
Who Qualifies For Home Care Packages?
To begin, let’s have a think about who qualifies for home care packages. Essentially everyone qualifies, but whether you can get the funding will be determined by an assessment. ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) determines eligibility of Home Care Package. They will be able to determine what level of service you will need. While you can’t know for sure whether a home care package is appropriate for you from the outside, if you need ongoing support, or your circumstances are a little bit more complex than what is usually covered by the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, then you’ll likely qualify for one of the home care package levels available.
The Different Types of Home Care Package
There are a number of different home packages available. This is because certain people need a higher level of care than others. During the assessment stage, you’ll be assigned a level. There are four different levels of home care package: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4.
Level 1 is the entry point for care. This allows $9,000 per year and is designed for people that have basic care needs.
The home care package level 2 is designed for people that require a low-level of care. It provides up to $15, 740 a year.
The level 3 home care package is for people that have higher requirements when it comes to home care. This provides up to $34,500 per year.
The home care package level 4 provides the greatest level of assistance, and this is reflected in the amount of money available; $52, 250 per year.
If you require higher level of care, then the assessment will likely determine that you qualify for the home care package level 3 or 4. If your needs are comparatively basic, then you’ll be in the first couple of brackets.
Do You Need to Pay?
Whether you have to pay money for this care will depend on your financial position. If you’re able to contribute to the cost of care, then are you expected to do so. How much will depend on a few factors. The home care package provider you select may ask you to contribute to the cost; as of September 20, 2020, this is capped at $10.75 per day, which applies to the highest level of care. We do not charge a basic daily fee, so you don’t have to worry about paying out of pocket for care.
It’s also possible that you may have to undertake an income-tested fee. This assessment will be carried out by Services Australia. If your income is high enough, then you may be asked to contribute, though there’s an upper limit of how much you will pay over the course of a year and a lifetime. Since September 20, 2020, this is capped at $30.86 per day.
As we’ll see later, there are some things that your home care package cannot be used to buy. If you want to have those services, then you’ll need to pay for them by yourself.
How the Process Works
Once your eligibility has been determined, you’ll be able to go through the process of actively getting the care. It’s important to remember that you’ve got a lot of choices when it comes to your provider. You’ll select the one that’s right for you, and then the government will pay the provider to provide the services to you. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and one of the advantages of this program is that you’ll be able to work closely with your chosen provider to come up with a tailor-made plan.
What Can It Be Used For?
Now let’s take a look at what your home care package can be used for. It can cover a lot in terms of home and personal care, but there are limitations.
There are a number of personal care services that can be covered by a home care package. If you need assistance with things such as bathing, personal hygiene tasks, getting dressed or undressed, getting in and out of bed, or other mobility issues, then you can use your subsidy to provide for these things. Essentially, any aspects of critical personal care tasks that the person cannot do on their own.
Home care packages are also designed to help people get the most out of life, and that means providing support for daily living tasks.
For example, if you have trouble hearing, seeing, or speaking, then you can use your package to invest in care that’ll improve these aspects of your life.
Nutrition and Hydration
It can become more difficult to look after the nutritional side of life as we age. Home care package funds can be used to help prepare meals, assist in curating specific diets, hiring workers to help with eating, and providing equipment and meals related to enteral feeding.
If you’ve fallen or injured yourself and have a skin injury, then you can use the home care package to provide dressings, bandages, and other treatment items. The money could also be used to get assistance in changing the dressings.
You can use the money from your home care package to get assessed for your suitability for continence products. These are wide ranging in scope and can include pads, bedpans, catheters and similar items, and commode chairs. It can also be used for assistance in using these items.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the driving forces between the home care package idea is to improve the quality of life for older Australian citizens, and a big part of that is increasing mobility, which becomes more difficult as we age. The home care package can pay for things like crutches, walking sticks, and wheelchairs, as well as items to put in the home — such as bed rails and mechanical lifting devices — that will help to improve mobility.
Home care is typically divided into a few different care categories. One of the biggest is ‘support services,’ which relate to services provided by other people.
For example, you can use the home care package to pay for in-home respite care, cleaning, personal laundry services, emotional and mental health support, getting assistance to help shop for everyday items, and managing medication. There are many things that fall under this category, but essentially it covers everything that a person cannot do themselves and which is considered essential.
Researchers are increasingly aware of the importance of staying social as we age since it can have such a tremendous impact on our quality of life and even our health. While you can’t use a home care package to pay for tickets to an event (such as a concert), it can be used to provide transport to and from social events.
The home care package is designed to improve many different aspects of a person’s life, and that includes their overall health. You’ll be able to use your funding for things related to nursing, allied health, and therapy services if they are required. Hearing and vision services (such as tests and equipment) are also covered.
Receiving Medical Care
You can also use your home care package to pay for access to other services not provided by your primary healthcare provider. For example, you can get a referral to a specialist practitioner.
What Can’t Your Home Care Package Be Used For?
As we’ve seen, the scope of what you can use your home care package funds is pretty wide-ranging. However, it’s important to remember that there are some things that it cannot be used for.
This list is far from exhaustive but is instead intended to give you an idea of what it’s not intended for.
- Replacing the regular income of the recipient.
- Paying for accommodation, for example paying for a mortgage, rent, or buying a home.
- Using the money to cover the home care fees that the recipient must provide.
- Paying for entertainment, such as buying tickets to a theater show.
- Gambling and any illegal activities.
If you’re looking for a home care package provider, then be sure to get in touch with us here at Home Caring. We have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process and can provide a bespoke package for people based in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.