After you have been assessed as eligible for a home care package, follow this pathway to access and manage your services:
Home Care Agreement
Once you have chosen a home care provider that best meets your needs they must provide you with a Home Care Agreement.
Your Home Care Agreement is a legal agreement with your service provider that sets out:
- the details of what your package will provide
- who will provide the services
- how much the services will cost
- if an exit amount will be deducted from funds that are left in your package if you choose to leave their care.
It is important to remember that you and the provider are entering into a Home Care Agreement as equal partners.
Your service provider must give you a copy of the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities – home care, which sets out the expectations for you and your service provider.
Your home care package is also covered by consumer law. More information is available in the Home care – know your consumer rights brochure on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website.
Your service provider must work with you to design a care plan based on your needs and provide you with an individual budget that sets out the total funds available and how they will be used.
The Home Care Agreement must be signed before your home care package services start.
Making the best use of your package
When you set up your Home Care Agreement with your provider, talk about how you can make sure your care plan best meets your goals and assessed needs.
You may choose to set aside a very small part of your package funds for a planned future event, such as leave of your carer.
It is important to include the care and services that let you make the best use of your package and budget.
Signing the Home Care Agreement
If you cannot sign a Home Care Agreement because of any physical or medical problems, another person representing you may enter the agreement on your behalf.
While the service provider must always offer and be prepared to enter into a Home Care Agreement, you can choose not to sign the agreement. If this happens, the service provider still needs to talk with you about how much involvement you would like to have in managing your home care package, as well as helping to design the type of care and services you need.
It is important that the service provider records the reasons for you not having a signed Home Care Agreement and the basis of the care that you are getting.
The service provider should always be able to provide proof that an ‘in-principle’ agreement is in place. This may include:
- a copy of the agreement offered to you
- a file note of the discussion with you about the basis of the agreement (including the date the discussion took place)
- proof that you are receiving a home care package as described in the agreement.
Can my provider end my Home Care Agreement?
Once you have signed a Home Care Agreement, your provider must continue to deliver your home care package services for as long as you need them. This is called ‘security of tenure’ and your Home Care Agreement should include detailed information about this.
If you wish to end your Home Care Agreement you must do so in line with the agreement you signed. This usually requires you to tell your provider in writing the day you wish to end the Home Care Agreement.
A home care provider may stop providing services if you do not meet your responsibilities within your control. This includes not paying your income-tested care fee.
Your home care provider will already have some information about your care needs which were recorded at your Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment.
A care plan forms part of your Home Care Agreement. Your service provider must work with you to identify your goals and design a care plan to help you reach those goals.
Your care plan cannot change without your agreement. Your service provider must give you a copy of any agreed changes to the care plan for your records.
You must review your care plan:
- at least once every 12 months to make sure the care and services you receive through your home care package still meet your needs. You can ask for a review of your care plan at any time if your care needs change.
- if you have been receiving services through a lower level package than your approved level, and you get upgraded to a higher package level. This lets you receive the extra services you need to meet your needs.
Personal goals and identified care needs
Personal goals are an important part of your care plan. Goals such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle or achieving independence in mobility, can guide your choice of care and services.
Identified care needs are the areas of your daily living where you have been assessed as needing extra care and support. Care needs are identified by a member of the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and during the care planning process.
During the care planning process, your service provider will need to take into account any support you already have in place, such as carers, family members, local community and other services. Your home care package is intended to meet needs that are not already being met by these other supports.
As a guide, your care plan may include:
- the exact types of services you will receive
- who will provide which services
- how much involvement you will have in managing and coordinating your services
- where your services are delivered
- when your services are delivered (for example, which day of the week)
- how much the care and services will cost.
You can discuss the possible list of care and services further with your service provider. If there is a type of service that you feel would best meet your identified care needs, the service provider has to do what they can to help you access that care or service. This may include sub-contracting services from other service providers.
As this may increase the costs charged to your home care package, any additional costs should be made clear to you before you agree to the service.
Questions about the care plan
Questions about the care plan
Help creating a care plan
- You can have another person, such as a carer or family member, with you to help design your care plan. You also have the right to call an advocate that you choose to represent you when talking with a service provider.
- An advocate can help you by:
- setting up or explaining the Home Care Agreement, care plan and individual budget
- talking and negotiating with your service provider about the fees to be charged to your home care package fund
- talking about any concerns you may have.
- Your service provider must let your advocate have access to the home care service. If you need help, an advocate can be found through the National Aged Care Advocacy Program by calling 1800 700 600.
- Find out more about your rights and responsibilities in the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities – home care.
- When a service provider offers you a home care package, they will need to work with you to develop an individual budget to fund your care plan.
- The individual budget sets out the total amount of funds available under your home care package and how those funds will be allocated and spent.
- Your service provider administers the home care package funds on your behalf.
- Your home care package budget is made up of:
- Australian Government subsidy (and eligible supplements)
- the basic daily care fee
- your maximum income tested care fee (if you’ve entered into Home Care after 1 July 2014) which you may need to pay based on your personal circumstances
- any other amount you’ve agreed to pay for extra care or services, not covered in your package.
- All care and services provided to you through a home care package must be within your package budget, unless you make more contributions.
- Any unspent funds must be rolled over from month to month and year to year for as long as you remain in the package.
Service providers do not have to charge an exit amount, but if they want to, they must:
- display their maximum exit amount on the My Aged Care website service finder
- discuss the amount with you
- include the agreed amount in your Home Care Agreement.
Monthly income and expenses statement
- Once services begin, your service provider must give you monthly statements that show the:
- charges to your home care package funds for care and services
- charges made to your home care package by the service provider to cover administration and case management costs
- unspent balance.
- Talk to your service provider about how you want to receive your statement - paper, email or web-based version.