This guide has been written for you by one of our friendly Care Managers at Better Living Home Care. If you have any questions about the guide, need some advice or would just like to say hello then give us a ring! Call us at 1 300 307 344, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. We can help you live better.
This guide is great for people who are new to Home Care Packages and would like gain a better understanding of the process, which can seem like a journey! We hope the following information demystifies the path to receiving government funded home care and helps you get the support you need.
Step 1: Get an assessment done with My Aged Care
If you want to know if you’re eligible for a government home care package the first step is to ring My Aged Care on 1 800 200 422. During this call you will be asked a series of questions to determine if you need an in-person assessment completed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
If it’s determined an assessment is needed for you My Aged Care will organise an in-person meeting. During your appointment the ACAT Assessor will ask you more questions to determine the level of care you need, what you’re eligible for and your priority level.
There are four levels of Home Care Packages that you can be considered for:
Level 1 – supports people with basic care needs;
Level 2 – supports people with low-level care needs;
Level 3 – supports people with intermediate care needs; and
Level 4 – supports people with high-level care needs.
During the assessment process, you will be asked to specify the minimum Home Care Package level that you would accept as an interim measure in the event a package is not available at an approved higher level. Your Assessor will also determine your priority in relation to other individuals based on your level of need and circumstance. Your approval date and priority will determine your place in the national queue for home care packages.
Your Assessor will be able to let you know an approximate time frame to receive the results of your assessment.
Step 2: Receive the ACAT Assessment Results
ACAT will write to you to let you know the outcome of your assessment. If you are eligible for support then you will be approved for a specific home care package level (home care level 1, 2, 3 or 4). You’ll automatically be placed in the national queue for home care packages at your approved level, as well as any interim levels (if applicable). As there are a limited number of packages available at any time in Australia, you’ll have to wait until one becomes available and it’s your turn.
At this stage you are approved for a Home Care Package but have yet to be assigned one. There’s a difference in that you qualify but there’s not a package currently available. It can be a lengthy wait from being approved to being assigned a package so it is a good idea to get assessed before you’re desperate for home care services. For up-to-date national queue times contact My Aged Care www.myagedcare.gov.au
Step 3: You are assigned a Home Care Package
When you reach the top of the national queue you will receive a letter confirming that you have been assigned a Home Care Package. Congratulations! There’s a good chance that you’ll be assigned a lower level package than what you have been approved for. This is due to the fact that the higher the level of package, the less there are available.
For example you may be assigned a Level 2 package although you’ve been approved for a Level 4. The good news is that you will get care although less than you need. When a higher level package becomes available you will be advised by letter that your level of funding has been increased. In this instance you can cover the gap with Private Home Care services. You’ll have to pay privately for services but many decide to do so. This allows individuals a higher quality of life and access to support to remain at home independently.
After you’ve been assigned your package you’ll need to find a suitable government approved Home Care Provider that suits your needs and budget. Also there is a deadline on the uptake of your package so be sure to read your letter for that information. You don’t want to lose your package!
Step 4: Find a Home Care Provider
After you’ve been approved you’ll need to find a government approved Home Care Provider.
You may be wondering at this point what exactly a Provider does. Good question. Providers manage your package for you which usually includes developing an individual care plan, delivery of services, monitoring of quality, changing care as needed and the financial administration of the package as required by the government.
My Aged Care pays your package funds directly to your Provider and they are responsible for proper allocation of budget and paying bills on your behalf.
When you have found the right Provider for you you’ll need to give them your unique Referral Code to start services. This code can be found in your letter from ACAT.
You may want to read our guide on Provider Fees so you don’t get locked into an unfavourable agreement.
Step 5: Enjoy your Home Care Services
After you’ve chosen your Provider and set up a care plan you can now begin to reap the rewards of your package. However, while you’re now set it’s wise not to ‘set and forget’. It’s always prudent to ensure you’re happy with the level of customer service you receive, the flexibility your Provider offers and the fees in relation to how much funding is left for actual care after administration fees are taken out.
A good Provider should be easy to communicate with and quickly resolve any issues that arise. After all, it’s their job to care for you!
If you’d like to have more information about Home Care Packages and your eligibility please visit www.myagedcare.gov.au
If you already have been assigned a Home Care Package, or have an existing one and are considering switching, please give us a call to find out how we can help you live better. 1300 307 344.