Tag: home care support

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


Support for carers

In Australia, we rely heavily on carers to care for our aged and disabled community.  According to Australian Bureau of Statistics and other sources, there are approximately 2.7 million unpaid carers providing over 1 billion hours of care.  So what support is available of those carers?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Financial support is available through Centrelink either as a Carer Payment which is asset and income tested or a Carer Allowance which is not asset and income tested.  These are available to carers who provide more than 20 hours per week of care;
  • The National Respite for Carers Program is a federal government program that provides respite for carers either in the home, in day programs or in a residential facility;
  • Carers Australia is a not for profit organisation which provides specialist services across Australia for carers.  These services include advice, counselling and information.  You can also contact your State based Carer organisation such as Carers Victoria for local assistance and information;
  • There are numerous illness specific organisations which provide information, support and assistance to carers of people suffering from that illness; for example, Alzheimers Australia.

The carer needs to ensure that they take a break and take care of themselves because if they are not caring for themselves, they cannot care for others.

If you need assistance accessing care or support, contact us at info@signpostlms.com.au.

Until next week

Sara and Margaret


How do you get support to keep Mum/Dad at home?

The aged can remain living independently in their own home if they are well supported.  What do we mean by support?

Support could include one or more of the following:

  • Personal care – assistance to shower, dress and attend to cleaning teeth, doing one’s hair, applying make up etc. to prepare for the day ahead and/or to assist at night .
  • Medication Management – someone attending at the time medications are due to ensure the ageing individual takes the right medications, the right dose at the right time.  Other mechanisms can be put in place to assist with medication management such as dosette boxes, webster packs and devices with timers which notify the individual that it is time to take the medication and allowing access to only those medications that are due.
  • Meals – whether it be assistance with meal preparation, shopping or arranging delivery of home cooked meals.
  • Domestic help – cleaning of the home, garden maintenance and assistance with domestic tasks such as shopping or changing light bulbs.
  • Personal alarms and monitoring –  a system that checks ageing individuals are safe each day and/or an emergency button to call for help.  There are numerous options available.
  • Social activity – social visits or assistance getting to or from functions or connecting into networks with like individuals. Social isolation is one of the biggest issues with the elderly so addressing this is vital.
  • Mobility Aids – it is worth having a physiotherapy assessment to ensure ageing individuals are safe when walking to prevent falls as the result of a fall is the most common trigger for entering an aged care facility.   Some subsidies are also available for fit outs (grab bars, railings etc) where considered necessary.

How do you access these supports?

There are currently 3 options:

1.  A Federally assisted program which requires being assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (or DVA for eligible persons).

2.  Contacting your local council to supply a package of care.  The council will organise to visit to do an assessment (but do this quickly as things are changing from 1 July 2015 and the new system has not been announced yet but is likely to be more expensive).

3.  Engaging a private service and self funding the costs.

If you feel you or your loved one could benefit from better support at home you can contact Signpost info@signpostlms.com.au for help understanding the options.

Until next week

Sara and Margaret


So your parents won’t heed your advice to move into care? What next?

Aged Care Independence Parents Not Coping

Around this time of year, aged care independence is the reason we get lots of calls from families. Adult children who have visited their parents(s) over the festive season and are really worried by what they saw.

These families tell us that there parents are not coping at home and really need to move into some form of aged care residential facility.  But their parents won’t have a bar of it.  So what else can you do to help them?

Aged Care Independence Help at Home

Here are some ideas for help at home that allow for continued aged care independence:

  • often nutrition is a problem; parents have lost weight or there is little if any food in the fridge.  Meals on wheels can provide meals which can be easily reheated.  This is usually organised through the local council.  If your parents scoff at that, there are numerous private providers who offer delicious and nutritious options at reasonable prices.  Or you could try the prepared freezer meals that are in the freezer section at the supermarket.  If your parents are having trouble reheating meals, think about local takeaway or high calorie meal substitutes like Ensure;
  • look at services that provide home care for the aged.  Subsidised services can be accessed either through the local council (although it appears there will be changes to this from 1 July 2015) or through federal government home care packages.  myagedcare.gov.au is the government website which gives information on how to access these home care packages (the recipient will need an ACAS assessment).  Be wary that in many cases, these funded services can be more expensive than accessing services privately (see our earlier articles for more information about this).  Or services can be accessed privately.  There are numerous providers out there;
  • look at making the home safer for them.  This could include modifications such as grab rails and sensor lighting for the hazardous midnight bathroom trip, removal of rugs and a personal monitor to ensure that help comes quickly when it is needed.  Occupational therapists can do assessments of the home to help you identify the risk areas and appropriate modifications. The most common reason for entry into care is a fall and this fact alone often persuades a parent to let you look into it;
  • if social isolation is a problem, speak to the local church or to the council to see how they can help.  There are many ethnically based not-for-profit organisations that also provide social contact for the elderly.  Social isolation is often a function of reduced mobility or surrendering a licence.  You can look into alternative transport options such as half price taxi discounts or council services.

We very seldom have clients who actively want to move into care. Mostly clients move because they are told in hospital after some trauma that they cannot return home or they are resigned to the fact that they have to move into care.  You cannot make them move into care (unless they have lost capacity – more about that another day) – you can only do your best.

If you need further information or want assistance, contact us through our website below.

Until next week

Sara and Margaret