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Home Care 101 - April Newsletter

Updated: Apr 15



A 2020 report into older Australians views on care and ageing showed that 80% of Australians over 70 want to remain living at home when they require care services. In my 14 years of experience in this space, I’ve found this to be true - almost everyone wants to be at home for as long as possible.


So, how do we keep our ageing loved ones at home?


Regular listeners of my podcast will know that I firmly believe education and proactive support are key to ensuring you stay home for longer. By knowing what services are available to you, when to access them and how to access them, you can pull the triggers for help before a crisis. And by being proactive, rather than reactive, you have a much better probability of remaining at home for longer.


For this reason, the theme I’ve chosen for April is

‘Home Care 101’. 


 

So let’s start with the basics…


Who looks after home care services in Australia?

MY AGED CARE

My Aged Care are the umbrella organisation that looks after all government subsidised aged care services. Whether you’re looking for support at home or in an aged care facility, it’s all managed through My Aged Care.


Phone - 1800 200 422 (note - they’re open 8-8pm Mon-Fri & 10-2pm Sat)


How do I access home care services in Australia?

Anyone over 65 years of age, or over 50 if you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, can access home care support.


To do this you contact My Aged Care and request an assessment for aged care services - they’re the first point of contact for all aged care support. They will then ask you a series of questions regarding the support you require.**


If eligible, you will then be referred for an assessment with either RAS (Regional Assessment Service) or ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team).


RAS = assessment for entry level support (CHSP)

ACAT = assessment for comprehensive support (HCP)


This assessment will determine what supports you are eligible to access.


**I strongly recommend clients sit down and write a list of all the things they may be struggling with prior to contacting My Aged Care. Picture your worst day and detail the tasks you find challenging + any health conditions that contribute to this.


What home care services are available in Australia?


1. COMMONWEALTH HOME SUPPORT PROGRAMME (CHSP)


What: CHSP is a government funded, entry level service for ageing individuals require a low level of support e.g. assistance with cleaning only. The 2024 Report on Government Services indicated there were 808,439 older Australians accessing CHSP.


Who: Typically CHSP is for people that only require support with 1 or 2 key tasks.


How: Once assessed, you will be provided with CHSP ‘codes’ for individual services e.g. gardening, personal care or social support. You must then find a provider in your area who has capacity to take on your code and they will then provide the service.


Cost: CHSP is a subsidised service with a client contribution. For example, if you have 1hr cleaning/week - this may cost $100/hr, but the Government pays $80 and you contribute $20. This is charged to you directly by the provider. There are no means tested fees for CHSP.


Pros: No wait times between assessment and service codes being provided.

Not means tested.


Cons: CHSP is incredibly over-run. In my opinion, it has taken the brunt of the Home Care Package overflow for far too long and has now lost its primary function of being able to supply care for those with low needs. In SA (and many other states) it is near impossible to find a provider who can take on new gardening or cleaning clients - the most popular entry level services. This means people are assessed and eligible for services that they are then unable to access. The other downside is that for individuals with multiple CHSP codes, they may end up with 3, 4, 5, 6 different providers. This can become confusing for the individual and is also challenging for the providers to holistically understand the clients needs.


2. HOME CARE PACKAGE (HCP)


What: HCP’s provide more comprehensive care and support to ageing Australians. They currently offer packages from levels 1-4, each with increased funding (detailed below). HCP’s are managed by a single provider or self-managed. Once allocated funding, you can choose how you wish to utilise it. The 2024 Report on Government Services indicated there were 313,991 older Australians accessing a HCP.


As of March 2024, the funding available for Home Care Packages was:


Level 1 - $28.14/day = $10,271.10/year

Level 2 - $49.49/day = $18,063.85/year

Level 3 - $107.70/day = $39,310.50/year

Level 4 $163.27/day = $59,593.55/year


Who: Typically HCP’s are for clients that require assistance with several areas of  care e.g. cleaning assistance + transport + medication support.


How: Once assessed and approved, you will then join the National Priority System aka. ‘the queue’. According to the My Aged Care website, you can expect to wait:


Level 1: Less than 1 month

Level 2: 3-6 months

Level 3: 9-12 months

Level 4: 6-9 months

*Last revised 31 March 2024


Data released in the 2024 Report on Government Services found nationally in 2022-23, all levels waited 132 days at the 50th percentile and 187 days at the 90th percentile to be assigned a home care package following ACAT approval.


Once your HCP is assigned, you will have 56 days to find a provider. You can request an extension for an additional 28 days if required. Once you enter an agreement with the provider they will then begin delivering services.


Cost: There is no fee-for-service in HCP, however there are a few other charges that may apply.

  1. Basic Daily Fee - this charge is a contribution you make on top of the Government funding. Not all providers charge a Basic Daily Fee, so it’s worth hunting around for one where you might not need to pay.


The maximum Basic Daily Fee that can be charged is:

Level 1 - $11.43

Level 2 - $12.08

Level 3 - $12.42

Level 4 - $12.75

*As of 6/4/24 - updated every March and September.


  1. Income Tested Fee - the HCP program is means tested and can cost up to $36.60/day if you’re at the highest end. The ‘Fee Estimator’ on the My Aged Care website will give you an indication of what your Income Tested Fee might be.


Pros: More comprehensive care where you can choose the services you want to receive. Care Coordination from your service provider to assist with managing your care at home. Single provider or self-managed for simpler coordination of services.


Cons: Wait times. Means-tested.  


3. SUPPORT AT HOME


What: The Support at Home program will eventually amalgamate CHSP and HCP, along with some other Government subsidised aged care services. Support at Home will roll out from July 2025, initially with HCP’s and Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC). CHSP is not expected to join until after July 2027. Support at Home will have new classification levels aimed at better servicing client needs. There will also be an allowance to access goods & technology upfront (in a HCP you would typically need to save funding in your package before being able to access).


Who: All existing HCP clients will transition across to Support at Home from mid-2025.


How: Support at Home will be provided by the same home care providers that currently facilitate HCP’s. Access will still be through My Aged Care, however we don’t know what impact this new program will have on wait times and service accessibility.


Cost: There is not a great deal known about the fees associated with Support at Home. One of the four key deliverables of the program is ‘reasonable prices and client contributions set by the Government’ and early discussions have indicated means-tested fees will continue.


Pros and Cons are hard to determine until the roll out of the program. It would appear positive to have one single funding model and simpler up-front access to goods & technology, however new programs typically have some teething time before running smoothly.


Watch this space!


 

This topic will be discussed in greater depth on my April podcast episodes which will be dropping on the 10th and 24th of April. The podcast is called ‘The Truth About Ageing’ and can be found in your favourite podcast app (Apple Podcasts, Spotify) or at www.navigateagedcare.com.au/podcast


I’ll also be posting regular updates on socials, which you can find at:

Facebook - @navigateagedcareau

Instagram - @thetruthaboutageing


Thank you again for being part of the Navigate gang. Please feel free to pass this email on to a friend of family member - the more the merrier!


Have a beautiful April and I’ll be in your inbox again on the 5th of May!


Big love,

Kate.

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