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Five Steps to Accessing a Home Care Package

Navigating the aged care system can be daunting, but understanding the steps to accessing a Home Care Package can simplify the process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you or your loved one obtain a government-subsidised Home Care Package.


Step 1: Check Your Eligibility


If you have higher care needs and are considering accessing home care, the first step is to contact My Aged Care by calling 1800 200 422 or visiting www.myagedcare.gov.au. If your needs suggest you might require a Home Care Package, My Aged Care will refer you to an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) to complete an assessment. This free assessment will identify whether you have high or low-level care needs.


During the assessment, an ACAT member will discuss your current situation, assess your eligibility for government-subsidised aged care services, and provide information about available home care services in your area. You can have a friend, family member, or carer attend the assessment for additional support.



After receiving ACAT approval, the next step is to find a Home Care Provider in your local area. You can contact My Aged Care or use the Service Finder on their website to locate providers. The Service Finder offers an overview of providers, their services, and contact details to arrange a visit. It’s advisable to meet different providers to understand the types of care, services, and activities they offer.


In some areas, there may be a waiting period between ACAT approval and the availability of a Home Care Package. Factors influencing this wait include the number of people waiting, the availability of providers in your area, and the suitability of the available packages.


Step 3: Work Out the Costs


The Australian Government subsidises aged care, but personal contributions to the cost of care are expected if your circumstances allow. There are two main types of fees: a basic daily fee and an income-tested care fee. The basic daily fee is a percentage of the basic Age Pension rate and can be discussed with your provider if you cannot afford it. The income-tested care fee depends on your income, with limits on the amount you can be asked to pay.


For more information and to calculate potential fees, contact My Aged Care or use their Home Care Fee Estimator online. If you already receive payment support from the government, such as the Age Pension, your fees may already be determined by the Department of Human Services.


Step 4: Accept a Home Care Package


Once a suitable package is found, you will enter into a Home Care Agreement with the provider. This agreement outlines the care and services provided, the costs, and how they will be managed. You and your provider will co-design a care plan based on your goals, preferences, and assessed care needs, along with an individualised budget.


Your care plan will detail the services you receive, who provides them, the schedule, and your financial contributions. It’s important to think about what support you need, what makes your life enjoyable, and your overall goals. This information will guide the development of a care plan tailored to your needs.


Step 5: Begin Your Services


Your Home Care Package starts on the day your Home Care Agreement is signed. The package provides security of tenure, meaning you can continue using it as long as needed. If your care needs change, you can arrange a review of your care plan and budget with your provider. If necessary, you can request a reassessment by your local ACAT to determine eligibility for higher-level care.


You can take leave from your Home Care Package for hospital stays, respite care, or holidays, provided you inform your provider in writing. If you wish to change providers or move to another location, you can do so, but it may require a new Home Care Agreement and care plan.


Additional Information


If you have concerns about the ACAT assessment, raise them with the team leader or the relevant state or territory government. For unresolved issues, you can write to the Secretary of the Department of Social Services. Financial hardship assistance is available for those who cannot afford the required fees. Advocacy services and the Aged Care Complaints Scheme offer support for any complaints regarding aged care services.


For any aged care matters or further assistance, contact My Companionship.



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