What is Home Care?

Keep doing what you love and living an independent life in your own home, with the help of Home Care.

Let’s be frank, most of us want to live, age, and die in our home and community. Whether our home is our longstanding family home, a downsized townhouse or apartment, or a retirement village, being surrounded by the people we love in familiar surroundings throughout our life is something most of us desire, and possibly take for granted.

So if there comes a time when you find it harder to do the things you’re used to, getting some help at home could be the answer. It’s important to know that needing help doesn’t necessarily mean that the next stop is a nursing home. Needing help doesn’t mean losing your independence, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

If you want to maintain your independence and continue to do the things you love, Home Care could be an option.

What is Home Care?

Home Care is a banner term for care and support that helps individuals to continue to live independently in their home.

Home Care will look different for different people. It may mean help with daily tasks like shopping, cooking and cleaning. Or it could mean help with personal care like bathing, dressing and getting in and out of bed. It could mean nursing care to help with managing a health condition or recovering from an illness or surgery.

The cost of Home Care services can be Government or privately funded.

What services can Home Care include?

As we age, many of us find that we would benefit from some help to keep us doing what we love and living an independent life. Home Care includes a full spectrum of care and support provided to you in your own home – from help with cleaning and meal preparation all the way through to nursing care.

Home Care is flexible and tailored to exactly what you need, when you need it.

Helping resident out of carGetting Home Care can enable you to continue to live independently in your own home for as long as possible .In fact, many of our retirement village residents tell us that accessing Home Care has improved their health and helped them maintain their independence.

Home Care Packages cover a variety of services that fall into three categories:

Services to keep you well and independent

Personal care to help you maintain your personal hygiene and grooming standards. This can include things like help with showering, dressing and reminders to take your medication.

Nursing services to help you treat and monitor medications at home. This can include things like wound care, some medical tests, and health and other assessments.

Allied health and therapy services to help you maintain your movement and mobility. This can include things like speech therapy, podiatry and occupational theraphy.

Food and nutrition to help you eat well. This can include help with meal preparation and meal delivery services.

Service to keep you safe at home

Cleaning and home maintenance to help keep your home clean. This can include help with cleaning, laundry, ironing and evening light gardening.

Minor home modifications to help you move safely around your home. This can include the installation of easy access taps and grab rails in the bath and/ or shower.

Service to help you stay connected with your community.

Transport services to help get you out and about. This can include help with grocery shopping, driving you to medical appointments or community/social activities.

For a full list of services you could receive through a Home Care Package, visit the My Aged Care website.

What is a Home Care Package?

A Home Care Package is a coordinated package of care and support services provided to you in the comfort of your own home. Your Home Care provider will work with you to choose care and support services that best meet your needs and goals. They can also help you to manage these services.

There are four levels of a Home Care Package to cater for different levels of care needs.

Package level Level of care Australian Government funding amount
1 Basic care needs $9,026.45 a year
2 Low care needs $15,877.50 a year
3 Intermediate care needs $34,550.90 a year
4 Higher care needs $52.337.50 a year

Packages and values current as at 30 October 2021.

What services are not included?

Home Care Package funds cannot be used as a general source of income to pay bills, buy food, pay your mortgage or rent. Home Care Package funds also cannot be used to purchase travel and accommodation or entertainment activities.

Also, a Home Care Package does not replace care and services accessed through other health programs that you might be eligible for. You should continue to access these if and when you need them through your GP and hospital.

What will Home Care cost me?

There are two main ways you can access in-home care, either through a Government-funded Home Care Package or through a fee-for-service arrangement.

Home Care Packages (HCP)

A Government-funded Home Care Package (HCP) is available to people aged 65 and over so they can access in-Home Care on an ongoing basis. You are provided with a budget to help cover the cost of your care and support needs, and you can decide how to use these fund, providing flexibility for you to choose the types of services and support you need or want.

If you can manage at home but need support with one or two tasks to remain independent, you could be eligible for subsidised support services through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).

Fee-for-service

If you need Home Care services before your care package is approved, you’ve been deemed ineligible for Home Care, or you want services in addition to your Home Care Package, you can access Home Care services under a fee-for-service arrangement. This means you pay for the full cost of services as you use them.

How can I access Home Care?

Government funded Home Care

To apply for government funding to help subsidise the cost of Home Care, you’ll need to go through the following process.

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to note that if you live in a RetireAustralia retirement village, RetireAustralia’s Home Care team can help you navigate this process. To simplify the process, we can:

  •  give you advice and assistance about My Aged Care (MAC)
  • help you find out if you are eligible for government funding
  • make a referral to MAC on your behalf, or act as your representative.

1. Initial phone assessment
First, you must register with My Aged Care (MAC). Registration with MAC is as simple as calling 1800 200 422 and having your Medicare details ready. An assessor will ask a series of questions to determine your care needs and the services you may be eligible for. This should take about 10 minutes and will include questions like:

  • are you still driving?
  • are you living with a spouse who’s able to help?
  • are you still showering yourself independently?

Based on the information provided, a MAC assessor will determine if you need to be seen by an Age d Care Assessment Team (ACAT)*. If you only need entry-level care services, a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) may be sufficient.

* An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) is a team of medical, nursing and allied health professionals, who assess your care needs and help you to access the appropriate levels of support.

2. Face-to-face assessment
If you’re referred to ACAT, you’ll be assessed at home by a trained assessor. We recommend you have a family member, friend, or one of our team with you for the assessment.

3. Letter of approval
After your ACAT assessment, you’ll receive a letter to tell you whether you’ve been approved for a Home Care Package. If so, you’ll be placed on the national priority system waitlist.

4. Home Care Package approved
When you get to the top of the waitlist, you’ll have 56 days to enter into a Home Care Agreement with your chosen Home Care provider. Once you have done this, all you need to do is arrange your services. Your chosen provider will work with you to develop a personal care plan and provide ongoing support to help you live as independently as possible in your own home.

Privately funded or fee-for-service

If needed, you can also privately fund your Home Care services. If you live in a RetireAustralia village, RetireAustralia Home Care can help with this, or you can search for a provider websites such as the National Health Services Directory or Mable. You can also access more information on privately funded providers on the My Aged Care website.

How long does it take to get a Home Care Package?

How long it takes to receive a government funded Home Care Package depends on your needs and circumstances, as well as the time you have been waiting for care. If you have urgent care needs, you may be prioritised to receive services much quicker than someone with a medium or low priority.

For people with a medium priority, the expected wait time for an approved Home Care Package is between 3 to 12 months, depending on the level of care you require. Wait times for Home Care Package levels change regularly, so it is best to check the My Aged Care website for updates or speak to your local RetireAustralia Home Care representative if you live in one of our villages.

Can I receive Home Care in a retirement village?

Care staff taking blood pressureYes, you can receive Home Care in a retirement village, just as you would if your home were located anywhere else.

Better still, across our retirement villages, we offer a dedicated Home Care service exclusively to our residents. RetireAustralia Home Care offers the same trust, familiarity, and feeling of ‘home’ that residents already have about their village. Its care when you need it, in your own home, with familiar faces who really understand your needs.

Our nurse-led Home Care team are familiar faces who are reliable, caring and experienced and our services are some of the most affordable available.

Are you looking for a little extra care and support?

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