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What is a home care package?

What is a home care package?

The Home Care Package (HCP) program is designed to provide in-home care and support for older people who need some help to stay home and remain independent.

The program is set up so you or your loved one can decide exactly which services would be most helpful, and access them through a local approved aged care provider of your choice, like Mayflower.

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Home Care Package Services

Your Home Care Package can be a coordinated mix of services including:

  • Personal care, such as help with hygiene, grooming, showering, and self-care
  • Household task help, including chores around the home and in your garden
  • Nutritional care, such as help with grocery shopping and meal preparations
  • Minor home modifications (ramps and rails)
  • Assistive mobility equipment (walkers, shower chairs etc.)
  • Clinical care including nursing, wound care, allied health and physiotherapy services
  • Specialised care for dementia and similarly serious conditions
  • Socialisation, such as visiting in the home or transportation to community events
  • Respite care, such as a few hours or a night off for a primary caregiver

 

Home Care Package Funding Levels

There are four levels of Home Care Packages, ranging from lower-level packages designed to help with basic, daily needs to higher-level offerings for those who need more intensive aged care. The Government will organise an assessment to determine which package is best for you. 

Level 1 Home Care Packages cover basic care needs.

You’ll receive funding of approximately $8,000 a year, which will pay for approximately two hours of direct assistance every week. Most people with a Level 1 package just need some help around the house with basic tasks, and maybe some assistance going to the shops, or one-on-one socialisation.

Level 2 Home Care Packages cover low care needs.

You’ll receive about $15,500 a year to pay for approximately three to four hours of direct assistance every week. Most people with a Level 2 package need help with regular household tasks, a little personal care, shopping and meal preparation.

Level 3 Home Care Packages cover intermediate care needs, for approximately $33,700 a year.

This will pay for approximately seven to nine hours of direct assistance every week. Most people with a Level 3 package need more help with personal hygiene, such as showering and dressing, and perhaps some simple nursing care.

Level 4 Home Care Packages cover high care needs.

You’ll receive funding of approximately $51,100 a year, which will pay for approximately 10-13 hours of direct assistance every week. Most people with a Level 4 package require a significant amount of care, but can still remain in their home where services are rendered conveniently.

The information above provides a generalisation of support and health services that could be expected at each package level.

That said, a Level 1 package might be utilised to provide a specific nursing care service and no other services, or a Level 4 package could be used almost exclusively for small household and personal care tasks.

How you use your package will be determined by your individual care needs and in consultation with you.

This is the benefit of self-directed care: You use your package to get the support you need the most, which can vary depending on your health, living situation and the amount of support you get from family and friends.

 

Non-covered items

You can’t use a Home Care Package for the following:

  • Food (except for enteral feeding requirements)
  • Housing (such as mortgage or rent payments) 
  • Holiday travel and accommodations
  • Entertainment (including club memberships and tickets to events; however transport might be covered)

Fees or charges arising from other types of care services provided by government funding, including payment for services and items covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, are also not eligible.

 

Home Care Providers

Home care services are provided by a variety of organisations across Australia. You can choose a service provider that is right for you, and negotiate your care with them based on your Home Care Package level and funding. Your provider will then coordinate and manage your chosen services on your behalf.

Your Home Care Package subsidy is paid directly to your provider. The package stays with you, which means you can choose a provider in your area that best meets your needs and take your package with you, should you ever want to change providers.

 

Costs

If you can afford it, you may be required to contribute to your care. There are three types of fees you may be asked to pay:

  • A basic daily fee which is set by government. The current maximum daily fee is $10.63 per day. Some providers, including Mayflower, do not charge this fee.
  • An income tested care fee. This is an additional contribution some people need to pay based on their financial situation. Full pensioners do not have to pay this fee. Part pensioners may pay up to $5,550 per annum and self-funded retirees may pay up to $11,101 per annum.
  • Additional fees are any other amount your loved one may agree to pay for extra care and services that wouldn’t be covered by their Home Care Package.

You can get an estimate of your likely fees by visiting myagedcare.com.au/fee-estimator. Mayflower can also provide guidance on what you may need to pay.

 

Eligibility

Your eligibility for a Home Care Package and the level of care you need will be determined through a face-to-face assessment. You can apply for an assessment at myagedcare.gov.au/assessment, or by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

The application can be completed on behalf of a family member or friend, or by your loved one themselves. Mayflower is also available if you would like some support contacting My Aged Care.

To qualify for assessment, you must be an older person who needs coordinated services to help you stay at home, or a younger person with care requirements not met through other specialist services (such as needs related to disability or dementia.)

You will also undergo a financial assessment to determine what (if any) contributions or fees may apply, although your financial situation won’t affect your eligibility.

If you are in financial hardship you may not have to pay any fees or additional costs for your care related to your Home Care Package.

 

Timing

Once your assessment is complete, if you are eligible, your waiting period to access a Home Care Package will depend on the level of package you have been approved for and the urgency of your needs.

Current expected wait times for approved Home Care Packages are approximately three to six months for Level 1 packages, and one year or longer for Level 2, 3 and 4 packages, from the time you are approved for your package.

If you have higher or more urgent needs, you may be prioritised to receive services more quickly. You may also be eligible to receive an interim package for a lower level of care while you wait for your higher-level package to become available.

If you are waiting for Level 1 care, you may also be able to access the Commonwealth Home Support Programme in the interim.

The government is working to reduce these wait times, however we recommend that you start the assessment process as early as possible, to ensure that you can get the care you need when you need it.

 

Services and pricing

If you qualify for a Home Care Package, the government will fund your care up to your package limit. Your funding will be allocated to your care according to your own agreement with your local provider, putting you in control.

Home Care Package funds aren’t paid to you directly. Instead, you choose an approved Home Care Package provider to administer the funds on your behalf and give you case management support.

Each provider will have different costs associated with providing care and services for your Home Care Package so it’s important to research how much you will be charged.

Providers are required to publish their prices on My Aged Care and this information is available on the ‘Find a provider’ tool on the My Aged Care website. Mayflower’s home care pricing schedule is also available on our website.

Home care providers must use a consumer-directed approach when providing services, which means you get to decide what support and care you need.

Your provider will need to listen to and work with you to plan your care and services. They must also make sure you get the full benefit of your Home Care Package once it comes into effect.

If you need assistance understanding Home Care Packages, and your options, Mayflower’s friendly home care team will be happy to help. Contact us today, so we can help you to remain independent as long as possible.

Mayflower is regulated under the Australian Government’s Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Every member of our personal care teams is carefully selected, exhaustively trained, and here to help.

Our administrative staff is ready and willing to help you or your loved one apply for Home Care Packages, and we work with you to tailor your government assigned Home Care Package funding or personal budget to meet all of your needs for home care.

The Home Care Package (HCP) Program is designed to provide in-home aged care support for older people who just need a little help to stay home and remain independent.