Tag: help for elderly

Changes to home care packages

About home care packages

Changes to Home Care packages

How will these Home Care changes effect my Mum?

Home care packages are subsidised packages of funding for care services in the home.  These are aimed at older people who wish to remain in their home but need some help.  There are four levels of packages as follows:

Level 1 – for basic care needs;

Level 2  – for low level care needs;

Level 3 – for intermediate level care needs; and

Level 4 – for high level care needs.

To be eligible for any of these packages, you need an ACAS/ACAT assessment which can be arranged by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Changes to home care packages

Over the past few years, the Federal Government, which is responsible for these packages, has been making a number of changes to the way home care packages are delivered.  The most significant recent change was to make the packages CDC (Consumer Directed Care) which meant that recipients/consumers were able to have more say in the services that they received.  This model is continuing with the latest changes coming into effect shortly.

At the moment, packages are allocated to approved providers who contact eligible consumers to fill the packages. From 27 February, 2017, packages will be allocated directly to consumers by My Aged Care according to priority protocols.  Once a consumer has been notified that they have been allocated a package, the consumer will be able to select providers from an approved list and will be able to move the package from one provider to another if they wish.

The purpose of these changes is to make the market for home services more competitive and to give consumers more choice.  However, it is still up to the consumer to find the best deal in the market.

If you have been assessed as eligible for a package before 27 February 2017 but have not found a provider by that date, you will have received a letter from My Aged Care advising you to contact them to say you would like to remain on the list to be allocated a package.  You will keep your same spot on the priority list even if you call after 27 February.

What to do when you get a package

  1. Work out whether it is cost effective for you to take up the package.  For example, a Level 1 or Level 2 packages is often less cost effective than paying for the services privately unless you are a full pensioner.  You can work out what the package might cost you by using the home care fee estimator on the My Aged Care website.
  2. Shop around for the best provider, both in terms of what they can offer and how much it will cost you.  Before you start shopping, have a list of the services you want.  Do you need transport or cleaning?  Do you need help showering or with shopping and food?  Do you need allied services or nursing?Understanding what you need before you start shopping will make the exercise much easier.

If you need help finding the best home care for you, we can do it for you. Call us on 1800 744 676 for an obligation free chat.

Until next time,

Sara and Margaret


Organising a break for carers

Carers need a break

Carers provide countless hours of care and support for our ageing population.  Sometimes they need a break.  This can be organised through respite care.

Respite options

There are different types of respite which are outlined below:
1. In Home Respite, this is when a carer comes in to your home so the carer can get a break for a few hours or the carer can take the person requiring respite out for a while. This type of care can be delivered during the day or overnight.
2. Centre Day Based Respite. This respite takes place at a day centre or club. It offers activities and outings and usually run between 10am – 3pm. Some of these centres offer a pick up and drop off service as well.
3. Residential Respite Care. This is for individuals who need help every day and therefore enter in to a aged care residential facility or a supported residential service for a short stay. This can be planned for a rest break or the carer may be going on a holiday.

Residential Respite Care can be paid for privately (cost varies from facility to facility) or through subsidised services.  It can cost as little as about $50 per day. In order to have access to a subsidised bed care recipient must have an ACAS assessment approving respite. ACAS is a free service and an assessment can be organised by calling MyAgedCare on 1800 200 422.

Residential Respite Care that is accessed through an ACAS entitles individuals to up to 63 days respite per financial year, most aged care residential facilities require respite to be taken in 2 week blocks.

Not all aged care facilities have respite beds so plan ahead and make a booking.

Help in a emergency

Don’t forget there is also access to emergency respite care which can be organised by contacting your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am–5.00pm) or 1800 059 059 outside business hours.

If you need help organising a break, call us on 1800 744 676 and we can help.

Until next time

Margaret and Sara


How do home care packages work?

Home Care Package Funding

Home Care Packages are federally funded packages which provide services at home for those who need them.  An individual needs to be assessed as needing care to access these packages.  The assessment process is free and is done by your local ACAS or ACAT service.  To find the number of your local assessment service, call 1800 200 422.  If you are eligible for a home care package funding, the assessment will state whether you are eligible for a lower level package (level 1 or 2) or a higher care package (level 3 or 4).  The level depends on your needs disclosed in the home care package assessment process.

Eligibility for Home Care Package Funding

Once you are assessed as eligible for funds through a Home Care Package, your name is placed on a waiting list.  The packages are outsourced by the government to private and not-for-profit providers.  These providers have access to the waiting list in the area in which they deliver the services under the packages.

Home Care providers may have a number of packages available in their area. Some providers have all levels of packages and some providers only have lower level packages.  When a package becomes available for the provider (that is, when someone who has a package no longer needs it or the provider has been allocated new packages by the government), they contact people on the waiting list to see if they would like to access the package.  If the person says yes, then they will meet with the person, explain the available services and the costs and if agreement is reached, start providing the services.

Home Care Package Providers

You can contact the providers in your area proactively and see if they have packages available and ask them about their services.  In this way, you can get better choice about the services that are delivered and the cost of the services.  These things can be negotiated with the care provider.  A list of all the providers in your area is available on the myagedcare.gov.au website.  You should also bear in mind that in many cases, it is more expensive to access these services through the funded package than it would be to access them privately so once you have ascertained the cost of the service through the package, it is worth checking with a home care provider what it would cost if thecae was paid for privately.

If you need help accessing the services or understanding the options, contact us by phone on 1800 744 676.

Until next time

Margaret and Sara

Do I stay or do I go? (or help at home vs residential aged care)

Aged Care Residential Options

Getting older is a natural part of life but sometimes it means that we are struggling with tasks at home and need help.  What should you do when this happens?  Ultimately it depends on your circumstances and planning for the possibility early. Planning and foresight mean that you will probably have more choice when the time comes.

Home Care and Home Care Packages

Getting help to stay at home is one option.  The local council is often the first port of call for most people looking for care at home and this is likely to change shortly – exactly how is not quite clear yet.

The care from your local council depends on your needs and is quite limited in scope but it may be enough for you.

The federal government funds a number of home care packages which can be accessed through an ACAS (or ACAT) assessment.

Consumer Directed Care Model

These assesses a person as eligible for funded or subsidised care at home.  These packages are moving towards a Consumer Directed Care model which means that the services available can be much broader and more suited to your particular needs.

Beware though that these packages can be more expensive than funding the care privately, depending on your circumstances.

The Retirement Village Option

You could consider a retirement village, particularly if they provide on site assistance.  This is generally an expensive option but there are lifestyle benefits – mainly in the form of activities and social contact.

You need to investigate what services are available and what the costs are to a resident accessing those services in a retirement village.

Retirement villages may not be able to cater for your particular care needs. In general retirement villages cannot provide suitable assistance for people who have or progress to high care needs.

The Aged Care Residential Facility Option

Moving into an aged care residential facility could be a more suitable option.  These facilities can usually provide all your care needs and they are subsidised by the federal government.  You need to have an ACAS (or ACAT) assessment to access these facilities.

Aged care residential facilities can be expensive, particularly the cost of the Accommodation Payment, formerly called a bond.

The funding system ensures that everyone is able to afford residential care in an aged care residential facility.  If you are concerned about the cost of residential aged care, you should see a financial adviser. Consider a financial adviser who is specialist in aged care. One who can help you understand the costs and how you can afford them.

If you require assistance understanding the options or need guidance and help in making a decision.

Contact us at info@signpostlms.com.au or call us on 1800 744 676.

Until next time.

Margaret and Sara

Extra Services, Premium Services and Additional Services in Aged Care explained

If you are looking for an aged care residential facility for you or a family member, you may have come across a facility or two that charges and extra service, premium service or additional service fee (or another name) but others that do not.  So what does this mean?

The first thing to note is that a facility that charges these fees is not necessarily better than one that does not.  These fees do not relate to the quality of the care that is provided and there are many excellent facilities that do not charge them.  Items or services that are usually included in the fees include wine with meals, a choice of meals, hairdressing or nice paintings on the wall.  They are often things that can be purchased as you need or want them. The amount of the fee is set by the facility and is usually changed on a daily basis.  They are most commonly mandatory if you accept a bed in the facility meaning that you cannot opt not to have the additional services even if you are very unlikely to use them.  They range from $20 per day up to around $80 per day so they can be a significant cost so it is worth understanding what is included in those fees.    The facility should provide you with a list of the items or services that are included in the fee.

‘Extra service’ fees are regulated by the federal government so the extra services are fixed and the facility does not have a lot of flexibility to change them.  So, many facilities have moved away from extra service fees to fees under a different name which are not so regulated so may be altered from time to time.  In addition, extra service fees are required to be disclosed on the facility website or on the myagedcare.com.au website but premium or additional service fees are not (or, at the time of publishing this post in August 2015, they are not).  So it may not be evident until you actually speak to someone at the facility.  But, to the resident and the family, they are essentially an additional cost.

Whilst it is ultimately a matter of choice and affordability, you should understand the alternatives when looking at facilities.

Until next time

Sara and Margaret