We all want to be in control of our own lives and sometimes achieving that control means accepting a little bit of help.

That’s exactly what Home Care Packages (HCPs) are. Funded by the Federal Government, they help Australian seniors live independently in their own homes by providing in-home support and community services.

Home care services could be anything from social events to assistance with day-to-day tasks, like looking after the garden or doing some cleaning. For the people who receive these in-home care services, a helping hand can be the difference between stability and crisis.

If home care sounds right to you, here’s what you need to know about Home Care Packages.

There are four levels of Home Care Packages. Each level provides a different subsidy amount, which is funded by the Australian Government and is paid to the approved home care provider you have chosen. The subsidy contributes to the total cost of your service and care delivery.

Services often provided in a Home Care Package

Here are some of the aged home care services that could be included in your Home Care Package.

  • Help with showering, dressing, and personal hygiene
  • Help with meal preparation, including any special dietary requirements
  • Crutches, walkers, rails, lifting devices and other mobility help
  • Nursing and allied health support, like speech therapy, podiatry, physiotherapy, and hearing and eyesight services
  • Help getting to and from appointments, the shops, social activities and the like
  • Help with bandages and dressings.

Those are the basic services, but a truly excellent home care provider goes much further by providing a mix of activities and entertainment, including arts programs and social events. A great home care provider doesn’t just provide a service, they provide fun and friendship, too.

Changes to the way Home Care Packages work

In February 2017, the Federal Government changed the way HCPs work. The changes are great news for anyone receiving or hoping to receive home care assistance. But it’s important to understand Home Care Packages.

The Government used to provide lump sums of money to home care providers, before services were delivered. Under this system, customers had neither much control over, nor information about, specific services they received. Under the new system, funding is provided on a case-by-case basis – and often after the services have been delivered.

Chorus CEO Dan Minchin said this new delivery framework means the person receiving aged-care services is in the driver’s seat — which is exactly where they should be.

“Really what the Government is trying to do here is drive more innovation and competition amongst providers, which should ultimately deliver better-quality services and better value for money for people, and a better sense of control and choice over their lives,” he said. “This is very much in line with the Chorus philosophy, which is about allowing people to live the life they choose.

“Many providers in the market spend a fair bit of time expressing their frustration with these changes and talking to Government about what’s wrong with the system. But we try to start with what the customer’s needs are and get less distracted by whether they’re entitled to X, Y or Z, and focus on what we can do to help.”

How to get a Home Care Package

Does an HCP sound right for you? Anyone who thinks they need home care can ask to be assessed. Here’s what that process looks like:

Request an assessment

Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, or visit the website and request an assessment for a Home Care Package. You will be asked some questions to determine what level of support might best suit you.

Be assessed

You’ll be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team, who will work out what level of care you might need.

Eligibility

If you are eligible, you will be approved for an HCP. You’ll then be prioritised for care based on your needs. Demand for HCPs is high and there is currently a waiting list of around 100,000 people.

Select a provider

Which provider you choose is completely up to you. You can research and find one whom you feel comfortable with – one which will tailor its service to your needs and go the extra mile to help you live a full and independent life in your own home.

Care Options, through the merger with Volunteer Task Force and Community First, are the approved provider of Home Care Packages with Chorus.

Services start

Once you’ve signed a Home Care Agreement with your provider, you’ll start receiving the support that will help you live life on your own terms.

Arranging a Home Care Package can be confusing and selecting a provider can feel daunting. Chorus is part of the community and knows how to help you get the services and support you need. Chorus staff can come to your home and talk you through the process, even helping you with the paperwork and phone calls. Get in touch on 1800 264 268 or at chorus.org.au if you’d like to speak to someone about your in-home care options.

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