What is a Home Care Package (HCP)?
A Home Care Package (HCP) provides Government funded services that will help you to remain at home for as long as possible, as well as providing choice and flexibility in the way that the care and support is provided.
- If the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) doesn’t provide enough support, a Home Care Package can meet your high care needs
- Consumers have more control over how they use their Home Care Packages and who delivers their care and services
- Your package funds can only be used for care and services that benefit your health and wellbeing at home and in the community
There are four different tiers of Home Care Packages available that you may be allocated depending on if you require basic, low or high care.
The Federal Government have updated the Home Care Package program so that consumers, like you, are more in control with what services they receive and from the providers they choose.
A HCP will be allocated to you personally and you can make decisions around services, who delivers them, and how involved you want to be in organising these services.
Types of packages available
There are four levels of Home Care Packages:
- Level 1 supports people with basic care needs
- Level 2 supports people with low level care needs
- Level 3 supports people with intermediate care needs
- Level 4 supports people with high level care needs
The same type of care and services are provided under each HCP level. The hours of care is increased at each level of care; more hours of care and services are delivered under Home Care Package level 4 compared to level 1.
Package supplements – for example, the Dementia Supplement for people with dementia and the Veterans Supplement for veterans with an accepted mental health condition – are available with any of the four levels of Home Care Packages.
Some packages may be specifically for people who require more assistance. For instance, people who are financially or socially disadvantaged, people with housing needs or are at risk of becoming homeless, or people who live in rural, remote and isolated areas.
Your care provider will apply for the subsidies and ensure you meet the eligibility criteria.
There are home care providers who may cater towards specific cultural backgrounds and may have staff that speak foreign languages.
This can be really beneficial for older people with a cultural background. Having a carer that can speak your mother tongue, understand you as a person, and know what you value can make receiving home care services so much easier.
While some providers can cater towards different cultural backgrounds, all aged care providers are required to provide services to older people, no matter their cultural background.
Unlike services provided under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, which offers basic assistance, Home Care Packages offer a higher level of support if you have more complex needs.
To receive a Home Care Package you will need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/S). The ACAT/s helps the elderly, and their carers, determine what kind of care will best meet their needs when they are no longer able to manage on their own.
A member of the team, which may include a doctor, nurse, social worker, and/or other health professional, will meet with you to assess your care needs and how well you are managing at home.
They will identify the right services for your needs and the level of care you require.
The ACAT/S will give you a letter stating the types of subsidised services you have been approved for and the support level, what your support plan is, and the Codes you need to access home care – which need to be provided to your new home care provider.
You might also have contact details of organisations in your area that can deliver these services.
You can also search for home care providers near you by using the AgedCareGuide.com.au directory.
What services are provided?
Home Care Package services are based on your individual needs. Your provider coordinates the care and services to support you at home and these are agreed between you and your provider. The services may include:
- Transport for shopping or appointments
- Social support by taking you shopping, banking or just providing company for a chat
- Domestic assistance for household jobs like cleaning, clothes washing and ironing
- Personal care assistance with bathing or showering, dressing, hair care and going to the toilet
- Home maintenance for minor general repairs and care of your house or garden
- Home modification ie installing safety aids such as alarms, ramps and support rails
- Nursing care where a qualified nurse comes to dress a wound or provide continence advice
- Food services such as providing meals at a community or day centre, preparing and storing food and delivering meals to your home
- Help with taking your medications
The Government will outline in your care plan what services you would be able to receive through a home care provider, which needs to be organised with that provider as well. You can learn more about your care plan in our article, ‘What is a home care plan?‘
What you can't use your package for
All services you receive need to be providing you care or help around the home.
There are a number of things that you are not allowed to spend package funds on, no matter the level of your package.
- Using the package funds as a source of income for yourself
- Purchasing food, unless you have enteral feeding requirements
- Paying for your accommodation, like home purchases, mortgage repayments or rent
- Payment of fees and charges for other types of care funded by the Australian Government
- Any home modifications or capital items that don’t assist any of your personal care needs
- To fund your personal holidays, including travel and accommodation
- Paying for entertainment activities like club memberships or buying tickets to sporting events
- Paying for services and items that are already covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- Gambling habits
Anything that isn’t assisting you to live healthy and well at home can not be funded by your package.
How would a Home Care Package benefit you and help you stay at home independently for longer? Tell us in the comments below.
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