Many retirees who require care are not aware that a variety of services are available for those who prefer to stay at home.
Home Care Packages provide Government subsidised services to assist people to remain in their home for as long as possible.
What services are available?
The Home Care Package services include:
- Personal care such as help with showering or bathing, dressing, mobility, meal preparation and eating.
- Support services such as basic home maintenance, home modifications related to care needs such as handrails in the shower, and transport to assist with shopping, visiting the doctor or attending social activities.
- Clinical care such as nursing, and other health support including physiotherapy (exercise, mobility, strength and balance) and podiatry (foot care).
Other services may also be provided such as aids and equipment to assist with mobility, communication or personal safety.
What types of packages are available?
There are four levels of Home Care Packages:
- Home Care Level 1 – to support people with basic care needs
- Home Care Level 2 – to support people with low level care needs
- Home Care Level 3 – to support people with intermediate care needs
- Home Care Level 4 – to support people with high care needs
You must be assessed by the Government’s Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) team as having care needs at least equivalent to a level 1 – basic care needs package.
An ACAT approval for a particular level of home care also enables access to any level of home care package lower than the approved level.
Home care fees
Clients who received a home care package since 1 July 2014 will pay a basic daily care fee and an ‘income tested fee’ administered by the Department of Human Services.
An income tested fee is payable where the client’s assessable income exceeds the income free area. The amount of income tested fee payable cannot exceed the actual cost of care.
Assessable income is calculated under the Centrelink rules and includes the amount of Age or Service Pension payable (less minimum pension and energy supplements).
The income tested fee is calculated as 50% of assessable income over the income free area of $28,048.80 (singles) or $21,762.00 (member of a couple, living together) or $27,528.80 (member of a couple, living separately).
The income tested fee is capped at:
- $5,667.73 p.a. for part-pensioners
- $11,335.48 p.a. for self-funded retirees
- Lifetime cap of $68,012.98
The lifetime cap applies to means tested fees across home care and residential aged care. For example, if Paul paid $40,000 in income tested fees for home care and then moved to a residential aged care facility, he would only have to pay a further $28,012.98 in means tested care fees to reach the $68,012.98 lifetime cap (note the lifetime cap is subject to indexation).
The basic daily care fee is payable in addition to the income tested fee and is dependent on the level of care:
- Level 1: $9.72 per day
- Level 2: $10.28 per day
- Level 3: $10.57 per day
- Level 4: $10.85 per day.
Am I eligible for a Home Care Package?
To access a Home Care Package, the person requiring care must be assessed and approved by the ACAT. ACAT helps older people and those who care for them, decide what kind of care will best meet their needs when they can no longer manage on their own. ACAT is made up of a range of health care professionals, including doctors, nurses and social workers.
ACAT thoroughly assesses a person’s situation and care needs, provides information on suitable care options and can help arrange access or referrals to residential or home care in the local area.
Accessing Home Care Packages
Home care information is available through the My Aged Care website or the national contact centre on 1800 200 422.
Home Care packages are allocated to clients through ‘My Aged Care’. Once a package is allocated, you will be able to choose who provides your Home Care services and it will be easier to change providers if you move or are unhappy with the service.
If you have any questions regarding Home Care Packages, including eligibility criteria or how to apply, please contact us.