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5. Manage your services

After you have been assessed as eligible for a home care package, follow this pathway to access and manage your services:

Starting services

Your Home Care Agreement should best use your package and funds to support your goals and needs. Once you have agreed to your care plan and individual budget your services can begin.

Your home care package starts on the day you entered into your Home Care Agreement, not from the day that care is first given to you.

Care and services do not have to start on the same day the Home Care Agreement is entered into, but will be delivered according to the care plan.

The care plan must be reviewed periodically and in response to changes to your personal circumstances to make sure the care and services delivered under 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.

Your care plan cannot be changed without your agreement. Your service provider must give you a copy of any agreed changes to the care plan for your records.

Package upgrades

You may be receiving services through a lower level package than your approved level.

If you have been approved for a higher level package, you will still be eligible for this even if you receive services through a lower level package.

If you are happy with your current level of care and do not want a higher level package, let My Aged Care know by calling 1800 200 422 to opt out of the queue. This will let another person in need take up the available package. Once your package is upgraded to a higher level, it cannot be downgraded.

If you change your mind, call My Aged Care at any time and opt back in for the higher level package. There will be no disadvantage to you. Your place in the queue is based on when you were first approved for care and priority for service.

If you do want your higher package level, My Aged Care will contact both you and your provider when you receive an upgrade to a higher package level. You must talk to your provider about the changes you need to make to your Home Care Agreement, budget and care plan based on the new higher level package. This will help you make best use of the new higher package level and funds.

Extra services

If you need additional services and your home care package is fully allocated you may need to be assessed for a higher level package.

If you require a service that is not covered in your care plan and the service will help you meet your identified goals you can redesign the care plan with your provider or pay for this service privately.

Your provider must discuss with you any changes to the costs charged to your home care package.

In certain circumstances, you can receive care and services through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) when you are in a home care package, on a time-limited basis.

In the first instance you should talk with your home care provider who will work with you to meet your needs.

Changing care needs

You might find that your care needs change. Maybe your care needs have reduced or you have had a set back and your care needs have increased.

If your care needs change you should talk to your provider and ask for a review to your care plan. Your provider may suggest to you that you need a review of your care plan.

You may need to be reassessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team for a higher (or lower) level home care package or other support services.

It is important to note that your provider must work with you to ensure your care meets your needs.

Taking leave

Talk to your provider if you plan to take leave from your home care package for:

  • a hospital stay
  • transition care (following a hospital stay)
  • respite care
  • social reasons.

You should let your provider know the date that your leave starts. This does not have to be in writing, but your provider must record the dates.

Your provider must:

  • not deliver services during the period you have taken leave but must start them again when you return
  • tell you about any changes to your basic daily fee and the costs charged to your home care package.

Supplements for specific care needs

If you receive a home care package, you may be eligible for additional supplements for some specific care needs or if you are having difficulty paying your aged care fees.

You may need an assessment to find out if you are eligible.

Your provider must lodge an application and manage your supplement on your behalf. You can also complete a hardship application yourself. Your provider can also check if your supplement has been approved and if payment has started. All your supplements will be included in your individual budget. Supplements available in home care are:

  • dementia and cognition supplement
  • veterans’ supplement
  • oxygen supplement
  • enteral feeding supplement
  • viability supplement
  • hardship supplement.

Ask your provider about whether you are eligible for a supplement or if your application has been approved. You can also read more about financial hardship assistance.

Some supplements, such as the dementia and cognition supplement, will move with you if you change providers. You do not need to do anything. Other supplements, like the oxygen and enteral feeding supplements, will not move with you if you change providers, and your new provider may need to reapply. Check with your new provider.

Changing providers

You can change home care package providers if:

  • you move to another area
  • you're after a better fit
  • you require particular services that your current provider doesn't offer.

Before you make the decision to change providers you should check your Home Care Agreement so you know if there will be any conditions such as notice periods and exit amounts.

When you research new providers you should compare the provider’s fees with those of your current home care provider for items such as administration of the package and case management.

You can find a new home care package provider by using the service finder or you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 and they will help you find a provider.

Once you have found a new provider you will need to contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to re-activate your referral code. You need this referral code to give to your new provider before you can start receiving their services.

Your current service provider must help you to change providers. You should discuss your plan to change providers with them and agree with your current provider the date you want your care and services to end.

When you have agreed an end date with your current provider, you have 56 days from the end date to enter into a Home Care Agreement with a new provider.

If you do not enter into a Home Care Agreement by this time, your home care package will be withdrawn and you will not be able to use your referral code.

The start date with your new provider must be after the end date you have agreed with your old provider and the dates cannot overlap.

You can follow the Changing providers checklist, also translated into 18 languages.

Moving unspent funds and paying exit amounts

You are encouraged to work with your provider to make the best use of your package and its funds. However, if you choose to move your home care package to another provider, any unspent funds in your home care package budget (after all expenses and fees have been paid) will move with you to your new home care provider. Your old provider will give you a statement showing you the amount of unspent funds that will be transferred to your new provider.

If your service provider has included an exit amount in your Home Care Agreement this amount will be deducted from the unspent funds to be transferred to your new provider.

The exit amount deducted from your unspent home care funds cannot be more than:

  • the provider’s maximum exit amount (as displayed on My Aged Care at the time you entered into your Home Care Agreement)
  • the exit amount in your Home Care Agreement
  • the unspent funds remaining in your package, so you do not have a debt or are not out-of-pocket.

If you do not have any unspent funds, the old provider cannot charge you the exit amount.

Feedback or concerns about your care and services

Rights and responsibilities

You and your Home Care Package provider have rights and responsibilities under the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities – home care.

Your provider must give you a copy of the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities – home care (available in 18 languages) and deliver your services in a way that meets the Home Care Common Standards.

You can ask your service provider for a copy of the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities – home care and the Home Care Common Standards. These documents list the Australian Government's service delivery expectations for approved providers of home care.

Read more about your rights and responsibilities in home care.

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.

If you are concerned about the care or service you are receiving, you have the right to raise your concern or complaint without it affecting your care and services. You are encouraged to raise the issue with your service provider in the first instance as it may be something that can be easily resolved.

Advocacy

You may also like to get help from an advocate. Advocacy services can give you information about your rights and responsibilities when accessing aged care services. They can also let you know if you should raise your concerns to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

Complaints

Your service provider can tell you how to make a complaint through their internal complaints handling process. If the complaint can’t be resolved by the service provider, or you don’t feel comfortable raising your concern with them, you can raise your concern with the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

Read more about how to make a complaint.

Last reviewed: 4 October, 2018.