Home Care Packages Explained

So you have a Home Care Package, what does that mean? In this episode of Grey Matters, Tracey and Ben discuss the Home Care package system.

While accessing the home care system itself may seem like the largest hurdle you have to climb, there are still some decisions after you get approved.

To listen to the podcast – press the ‘play’ button below.

Key points discussed:

What is a home care package
What levels of service does a home care package provide
What will a home care package cost
What to look for in a home care provider

Read Full Transcript

Ben Davis:
Good day, thanks for your company again on Grey Matters. Ben Davis, alongside Tracey Sylvester from Season’s Aged Care.

Tracey, this week I want to unpack home care packages, exactly what they entail, how much they cost, what is involved.

Tracey Silvester:
Home care packages are a type of care that an older person can receive.

Someone being eligible for a home care package means they’ve had an assessment from an aged care assessment team.

It is meant to be a more complex level of service than that which is provided through the other funding programme that Aged Care Services are funded through, which is called here in Queensland, The Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

There’s 4 levels of home care package.

Level 1 being a fairly entry level type of service. Each package has a dollar value.

Right up to level 4, which is really, back in the day when home care packages were introduced, that level 4 package was called nursing home at home.

Level 1 package is about $7,000 or $8,000 dollars a year.

Ben Davis:
Let’s look through those levels, what do I see when we look at level one?

Tracey Silvester:
Level 1 service is really an entry level.

That’s for somebody who is needing services but isn’t requiring perhaps complex services. Their needs are more rounded social support needs.

They’re probably getting some cleaning, some home maintenance or mowing the lawn or whatever. They may be getting some transport, so assistance to take them to a doctor’s appointment.

They may also be having some personal care or some meal preparation in that package.

People who receive level one and moving into the level 2 packages are people who have sometimes got a resident carer so they have somebody living with them who’s looking after them.

Or if they don’t, they’re reasonably independent. They’ve probably got a chronic health condition that means they can’t do some of the things that they’ve always done.

Ben Davis:
What about level two? What’s that look like?

Tracey Silvester:
It’s worth a little bit more money and so it’s the next level up. People on a level two package have probably added personal care into the mix and some other bits and pieces around it.

Ben Davis:
Would that be full time personal care?

Tracey Silvester:
No, so that’s probably … a level two pack will get between four and six hours of care per week. The consumer can really choose within the dollar value of the package, the sorts of services they want to receive.

Ben Davis:
As we always say, we love choices. Level 3, obviously not the full time care at home. What do we expect when we sign up for level 3?

Tracey Silvester:
So somebody who’s got a level three package, you would typically see somebody who’s got a degree of frailty.

Either a physical frailty or they might have a dementia that is requiring some more intensive support.

Somebody on level three package is probably having some nursing services with this package. Maybe some allied health like physio or podiatry or something like that.

Ben Davis:
That all happens at home?

Tracey Silvester:
It all happens at home.

Some people use those funds to go to respite programmes, social programmes that might be because they have a resident carer who needs a break.

It might be because they, themselves need to get out and about and socialise so those funds can be used for all sorts of different things.

They are still effectively living in their own home. Be that the house that they’ve lived in for the last 40 years or might be in a retirement village.

Somebody on a home care package regardless of their level of package is expected to pay $10.32 a day towards the cost of the care.

There also is an income test on home care packages. It’s based on income, not assets. You could be living in a huge big million dollar house that doesn’t contribute to what you have to pay as an income tested care fee in a home care package.

Ben Davis:
That’s good.

Tracey Silvester:
It’s not until you move into nursing homes that the family home does get considered in an assets test.

Ben Davis:
All right, let’s look at Level four, which you described as a nursing home at home.

Tracey Silvester:
Yes as I said, when that programme was first introduced, it was called nursing home at home.

The reality is, it’s not 24 hour day, seven day a week care. Level four packages are worth about $50,000.00 a year.

People on a level four package can get anywhere between 15-18 hours of care per week.

That’s a loose, ballpark figure. The sorts of services that they get, there are a lot more intense than they get on any other sort of package.

They’re the sort of people who need a lot of help with personal care.

They probably need assistance with domestic assistance, helping them with a meal and probably things like respite care and transport and things like that.

They’re sort of people who in some regards would not be out of place in a nursing home.

Ben Davis:
When it comes to providers, what should we look for?

Tracey Silvester:
I think it’s choice. I think it’s actually finding a provider who is actually going to provide you with the services that you want or if you’re acting on behalf of a relative, the services that they want and the services that they need.

A lot of providers are quite concrete in the way that they provide their services.

So you might say, needs help to have a shower.

You might have been showering every day in the evening for the last 50-60 years. A lot of providers say we can help you have a shower, but we can only do that in the mornings.

We can only do that between eight and 12. I hear a lot of older people say to me, I sit around all morning in my pyjamas waiting on someone to help me have a shower.

Ben Davis:
That’s not good.

Tracey Silvester:
No it isn’t. Find out if your provider is willing to provide you the services that you want at the time of day that you want them.

The other thing is a lot of older people talk to me about they never have the same carer twice. You’re inviting somebody into your home.

I don’t like having strangers in my home. Why would we think that it’s okay for an older person to accept somebody different every week, every couple of days into their home.

Ben Davis:
This is such valuable advice and what to look for cause it can be a minefield and there’s pitfalls. It’s just about opening our eyes and thank you for doing that. Home care packages, Tracey let’s talk again soon on Grey Matters.

Season’s Aged Care website

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