Help at home: what to expect

If you are thinking about getting services to help you at home, there are several things you will need to think about such as eligibility, the cost to you and how to organise the services you need through a service provider.

Who is eligible for help at home?

If you are looking to receive services under the Home and Community Care Program (HACC), you can simply contact the organisation that will provide your services. They will tell you what you need to do to get started. The organisation may conduct their own basic assessment to identify what type of help you require ­– and how much.

If you haven’t already read about help at home, take a look at the different types of home services to get started.

If you are looking to receive a Home Care Package, you will need to be assessed and found eligible by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria).

An ACAT assessment is a meeting with a member of the team such as a doctor, nurse, social worker and/or other health professional to assess your care needs and talk to you about how well you’re managing in your day-to-day life. They will help identify the right services for your needs and work out what level of care you require. The ACAT will provide you with a letter that tells you which types of subsidised services you have been approved to receive. The team might also put you in touch with organisations in your local area that can deliver the services you need.

Either way, it’s relatively straightforward and the service provider or ACAT will set out the next steps for you after your assessment. More information on the HACC Program and Home Care Packages is available on this website.

There is also an online service finder that will assist you in finding HACC services in your local area. To find your local ACAT, use the ACAT finder.

How much will it cost me?

The Australian Government pays for the bulk of aged care in Australia. But as with all aged care services, it’s expected you’ll contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford to do so. You will never be denied a service you need because you can’t pay for it.

You will need to negotiate with your service provider the costs you will be asked to pay. These costs will be agreed upon and fixed in your agreement before you receive any aged care services. This is your legal agreement with your service provider.

More information on the cost for home care services is available.

What will my agreement cover?

Your service provider may work with you to develop a care plan or service plan that is based on your needs. The care plan will be set out in an agreement between you and the provider about the care you will receive.

This care plan you agree to may include:

  • the exact types of services you will receive
  • who will provide which services
  • how much involvement the service provider will have in managing and coordinating your services
  • when your services are delivered (for example, which day of the week)
  • how much you will pay.

What if I have a concern?

If you are not happy with a service or the organisation providing your services, you have the right to complain or to find a different organisation if one is available.

The process for making a complaint may vary depending on the program or package through which you receive your services. Find out how to make a complaint.