Home Care Packages

If you want to stay in your own home as you get older, but need some help with things like cleaning and preparing meals, or with transport so you can go shopping or attend appointments, a Home Care Package may be for you.

What is a Home Care Package?

A Home Care Package provides a co-ordinated package of services tailored to meet your specific care needs. A Home Care Package provides services that can:

  • help you to stay at home
  • give you choice and flexibility in the way that care and support is provided to you.

What types of services are provided?

The types of services provided under a Home Care Package will depend on your needs. Your home care provider co-ordinates care and services to support you at home.

A range of services may be provided under a Home Care Package, including:

  • personal services – such as help with showering or bathing, dressing and mobility
  • support services – such as help with washing and ironing, house cleaning, gardening, basic home maintenance, home modifications related to your care needs, and transport to help you do shopping, visit your doctor or attend social activities
  • clinical care – such as nursing and other health support including physiotherapy (exercise, mobility, strength and balance) and hearing and vision services.

You and your home care provider can also negotiate other services to support you to live at home where these are identified in your care plan. For example, you may benefit from some aids and equipment to assist with mobility, communication or personal safety. Whatever is agreed must be affordable within the funding available for the package.

How do I know if a Home Care Package is right for me?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you an older person who needs some help to stay in your own home?
  • Are you struggling with some aspects of living at home, but you’re still able to manage most of the time?
  • Do you think if you don’t get some help at home, you might have to go into an aged care home before you’re ready?
  • Are you a younger person with a disability, dementia or other special care needs that are not met through specialist services?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you may be eligible for a Home Care Package.

There is no minimum age for accessing a Home Care Package, but you will need to be assessed as eligible by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria. This is explained below.

What types of packages are available?

There are four levels of Home Care Packages which are designed to give you the care you need:

What if I have additional needs?

Supplements are available to make sure you receive the care you need, which can include:

  • Dementia and Cognition Supplement
  • Veterans’ Supplement for veterans with service-related mental health conditions accepted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Oxygen Supplement for people with an ongoing medical need for oxygen
  • Enteral Feeding Supplement for people who need enteral feeding on an ongoing basis.

These supplements are available with any of the four levels of Home Care Packages. If you are eligible, your home care provider will receive some extra funding to make sure you receive the care you need. You do not need to apply for these supplements. Your home care provider will apply on your behalf, or in some cases, the supplement will be paid automatically to your provider.

What is a Home Care Agreement?

All people receiving care under a Home Care Package must be offered a Home Care Agreement. This is an agreement between you and your home care provider that sets out what care and services you will receive.

Any government funding is paid to the home care provider. Your provider can then spend the funds on the items you both agreed to in the Home Care Agreement.

What is Consumer Directed Care?

Some Home Care Packages are delivered on a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) basis. CDC gives you more choice and control over the types of care and services you receive, how care is delivered and who delivers it to you.

Under CDC, you determine the level of involvement you would like to have in managing your own package. You will be provided with a personalised budget so that you can see how much funding is available for services and how the money is being spent.

Currently only some Home Care Packages are provided on a CDC basis; however, from 1 July 2015 all Home Care Packages will offer CDC. Speak with your home care provider to see whether a CDC package is available.

How do I get a Home Care Package?

You will need to be assessed by a member of an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria, to receive help at home through a Home Care Package. Read more about ACAT assessments or find your local ACAT.

If you are assessed as eligible for a package, you will be put in touch with home care providers in your area. There may be a waiting period for packages in some areas.

Once you have been offered a package by a home care provider, they will help you plan your package based on your specific needs.

Who pays for Home Care Packages?

The Australian Government pays for the bulk of aged care in Australia, but as with all aged care services, you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your care.

Read more about the cost of Home Care Packages.

Will my current care package be affected?

You may have previously been receiving services through a Community Aged Care Package (CACP), an Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) package, or through an Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) package.

If you were receiving one of these packages prior to 1 August 2013, you will still get the help you need, although your package will now be known as a ‘Home Care Package’.

You should note the following:

  • CACP has become Home Care – Level 2
  • EACH and EACHD have become Home Care – Level 4.

There is no need for a separate EACHD package as the Dementia and Cognition Supplement is available across all four package levels. If you were previously receiving an EACHD package, you will be automatically eligible for the Dementia and Cognition Supplement.

You will not need to be re-assessed by an ACAT to continue receiving home care services. Your home care provider can discuss the transitional arrangements with you.

If you already have an ACAT approval for a CACP, EACH or EACHD package, but are waiting for a package, you do not need another ACAT assessment. Your existing ACAT approval will remain valid as an approval for a Home Care Package.

Need an interpreter?

If you speak a language other than English you can phone the Translating and Interpreting Services (TIS) on 131 450. TIS covers more than 100 languages and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the cost of a local call. Alternatively, you can call the National Contact Centre on 1800 200 422 (between 8am and 8pm on weekdays or 10am and 2pm on Saturdays), and we will organise an interpreter through TIS to support the contact centre in communicating with you.
 
My Aged Care also includes information on aged care in other languages.

If you have a hearing or speech impairment?

People who are deaf or who have a hearing or speech impairment can contact My Aged Care through the National Relay Service in two easy steps:
  1. Visit the National Relay Service website to choose your preferred access point and
  2. Ask for My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

All Home Care Package services support people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD). Some home care providers specialise in assisting people from a particular CALD group.