Tag: home care packages

Don’t understand aged care home care packages?

Here is some help to understand aged care home care packages.

There are 5 steps to complete before you start using a home care package:

  1. Be assessed by Aged Care Assessment Service/Team (ACAS/ACAT) or a Regional Assessment Service (RAS)  for eligibility for a home care package.  This assessment is done on behalf of the Federal Government (usually by a local hospital or council) and it is free.  The assessor comes to your home.  To book an assessment, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
  2. Once you have been assessed as eligible, you will receive a letter from My Aged Care advising that you have been assessed as eligible.  This does not mean that you can access services yet.  It just means that you have been approved.  You need to wait until step 3 before you can do anything further.
  3. You will receive a further letter from My Aged Care advising you that a package has been allocated to you.  This letter has a unique referral code. It can take months for this letter to arrive – especially if the approved package is a level 3 or 4 package. Once you have the unique code, you can now start finding a provider who can supply services to you under the package.
  4. You need to call around to providers to find one who will best meet your needs.  What you get from a package is negotiable.  Some providers might give you a lot more for your package than another so it is important that you shop around.  You should have a list of the things that you want from your package and talk to several providers.  You can find a list of providers on myagedcare.gov.au at the ‘Find a Service’ tab.
  5. You will need to reach an agreement with the provider – they will usually ask you to sign an agreement.  Once that is signed, you are ready to go!!!  If you are not happy with the provider and cannot resolve your complaints with them, you can move your package to another provider.

If you don’t have the time to shop around and find the best provider, we can do it for you.  If you need help, call us on 1800 744 676.

Until next time

Sara and Margaret

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


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

The truth about home care packages

Home Care Packages

The funding for home care packages changed with effect from 1 July 2014.  So what does this mean for the folks at home who need a little but not a lot of help? An interesting experience in the last few weeks has caused us to do some research.

Extended Aged Care at Home – Case Study

One of our clients (I will call her Elsie but that is not her real name) was assessed as eligible for a level 1 or level 2 package just after 1 July, 2014.  Elsie was already privately funding about 2 hours a week of domestic assistance (help mainly with shopping) and a personal monitor.

These items cost her around $110 per week.  A provider called about 2 weeks after the assessment was completed and offered her either a level 1 or level 2 package.

In that package, Elsie could receive the same level of assistance that she was currently receiving privately, with some contingency for additional services, but at a cost to her of over $220 per week, under the new income tested fee arrangements because she is a self funded retiree.  So, basically the same service at twice the cost.  Under the previous regime (i.e. prior to 1 July 2014), Elsie would have paid very little for this arrangement.

Home Care Packages – An Ugly Reality For Many

So we called around to see what other providers were saying.  The feedback was that these level 1 and level 2 packages are no longer cost effective unless you are (or are almost) a full pensioner.

The individual is better off paying for the care privately because of the case management and other costs associated with these home care packages. It also seems at long odds that, if you pay for the package rather than fund it privately, you will get a return on reaching lifetime or annual limits*.

Home Care Packages Level 1 and Level 2 – Can’t Be Given Away

One of the providers said that, because of the funding changes, they could not give away the level 1 and level 2 packages.  And it seems most of the packages that are just now being released by the government as part of the Living Longer, Living Better reform strategy to help people remain at home are level 1 or level 2.

The following commentary from “Dial An Angel” is worth noting.

“The proposed aged care means testing system is not at all simple, and it would not be easy for the elderly to understand. The proposal changes are not designed to create a financial disadvantage for individuals who receive a full age pension. However, for individuals who receive a part Age Pension or self-funded individuals the proposed changes to the means testing will generally result in these individuals contributing more financially to the cost of their aged care. 

If approved and implemented these proposed financial changes to the means testing will need to be considered for those individuals intending to retire in the future, as well as for those individuals already retired.”

Are we the only ones who think that something got lost in translation of the policy to the actual?  We would love to hear others’ views about this.  If you would like to comment, please email us at info@signpostlms.com.au or find us on Twitter as SignpostACS.

*There is an annual limit of $10,000 and a lifetime limit of $60,000 for income tested contributions for home care packages.  These contribution also count towards the lifetime limit of $60,000 for means tested care fees for residential care.

Until next week

Sara and Margaret


How to find out what aged care services are available in Australia

Aged Care Services – What Is Available?

Most people who have tried to locate aged care services on the internet are overwhelmed by the hits received in response.

Most commonly, the first hits are for residential accommodation or providers of care in the home, neither which may be what you are looking for.

There are some sites which aggregate the information for you by giving you an idea of the broad services available for the elderly.

Myagedcare Website

Probably the best place to start is the Australian Government aged care services website http://www.myagedcare.gov.au

This may start you in the right direction by letting you know what services are available through the government. Aged care services such as respite care for carers, after hospital transition care, details on residential aged care homes and help in your home.

Myagedcar also details eligibility, assessment and access to various aged care services. Information on costs, service providers and how to have a healthy, active old age.

DPS Publishing Aged Care Guide

There is also the DPS aged care guide available here http://www.agedcareguide.com.au

DPS has a “….. mission is to produce relevant and informative resources of the highest quality for people with a personal or professional interest in aged care and seniors living.”

DPS and their Aged Care Guide covers both government and private services and is generally considered the most comprehensive publication.

Aged Care Online

Another service is Aged Care Online http://www.agedcareonline.com.au which is a publication covering both private and government options.

“Aged Care Online is an online directory of Residential Aged Care Homes, Home & Community Care and associated services across Australia. The site is targeted at people searching for aged care alternatives online and has over 5,200 aged care service providers currently listed. Originating in Melbourne, Victoria, the National directory was launched in April 2005 and has been in operation for over 10 years.”

Signpost Aged Care Services

All these aged care services provide a wealth of information which takes some time to sort through and absorb.

If you are confused by all the options and detail, please give us a call on 1800 744 676 or contact us through our website http://www.signpostlms.com.au

“At Signpost Aged Care Services, we offer a unique service, we assist you and that allows you to make informed decisions about accessing care for older Australians. We make it easy for you to understand all of the options that are available for remaining at home or moving into care.”

Until next time,

Sara and Margaret

Signpost Aged Care Services