Want to know more about Home Care Packages?
This article will help you to understand how Home Care Packages work, who is eligible and what a Home Care Package can do to support you or your loved one to comfortably keep living at home.
The government supports senior Australians who are struggling to live independently in two ways – by subsidising residential aged care, and by funding in-home care services that can help you to remain in your own home for as long as you can.
What is a Home Care Package?
The Home Care Package program provides funding for a range of in-home services that can make living at home more comfortable for seniors.
This funding delivers comprehensive in-home services across four package levels – covering everything from basic services like house cleaning, to higher level nursing and medical support.
The package level you may receive is determined by your assessed care needs.
Why would you need a Home Care Package?
A Home Care Package could be of benefit to you if you:
- Have difficulty shopping and/or preparing meals
- Need help with showering and/or personal hygiene
- Cannot travel independently to and from the shops
- Struggle to keep the house cleaned regularly
- Receive few visitors or rarely attend social engagements
- Have a high risk of falls
- Experience difficulties with mobility
In many cases, the decision to apply for a Home Care Package comes after discussions with a GP.
How does a Home Care Package work?
A Home Care Package is an annual, set amount of money that is assigned to an individual to be spent on in-home services.
When you are assigned with a Home Care Package, you can either organise your own services using the money in your budget (this is called self-managing) or you can appoint a Home Care Package Provider.
About Home Care Package Providers
A Home Care Package Provider will work with you to decide on, and organise, which services will best help you. They must adhere to your care plan and ensure sure you have enough funding to cover the cost of the services they organise. When your care needs change, your Home Care Package Provider can work with you to adjust services to suit, within your budget.
The government pays Home Care Package funds directly to Home Care Package Providers, who must forward monthly statement to all clients, covering services delivered, a detailed pricing schedule, and administrative costs.
How to choose a Home Care Package Provider
It’s important that the Home Care Package Provider you choose can successfully deliver the services you need. When comparing Home Care Package Providers, you need to consider:
- Availability – do they have staff available and when can they commence services?
- Cost – are they within your budget and how high are their administrative fees?
- Services – can they deliver all the services you require?
- Quality – do they meet the Aged Care Quality Standards for Australia?
So where should you start looking?
This is where Aged Care Decisions can help.
Our 100% FREE aged care matching service helps thousands of Australian families find Home Care Package Providers that suit their needs.
Our custom-built software together with our Placement Specialists can match your location, budget, care needs and personal preferences with available providers that suit your specific needs.
Looking for aged care?
Get a customised list of aged care options
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for a Home Care Package?
You or your loved one may be eligible within the 2023 Home Care Package guidelines if you or they:
- Are a senior Australian aged 65+ who needs help to stay safe and comfortable at home
- Are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50+
- Are a younger Australian with special needs that are not being met through any other government service.
What are the four Home Care Package levels?
Home Care Packages are assigned across four levels of escalating value, starting with basic care, and progressing to high level care.
|Level 1||Level 1 is the most basic care package. It is designed for elderly Australians who could benefit from help at home despite being more mobile and capable. This level of funding can accommodate a visit from support staff once or twice a week for help with more basic tasks like house cleaning and self-care.|
|Level 2||Level 2 funding is one step up, meaning there is more money to pay for a carer from a home care provider to visit more regularly to check on health requirements and cover basic tasks.|
|Level 3||At level 3, higher level needs begin to be accounted for. At this level of funding, a carer could visit most days of the week. They may have more qualifications, such as in nursing, and be able to perform more complex tasks.|
|Level 4||A Level 4 package is the most comprehensive package of the home care package levels, intended for seniors with high needs. At level 4, you can afford a carer to visit most days with increased hours and an increase in medical assistance.|
What will a Home Care Package pay for?
Home Care Packages can fund a comprehensive range of care and services to help you or your loved one to live an independent life in your own home, including:
- Personal care services such as help with showering, dressing and grooming
- Help with food shopping, cooking and assistance with eating
- Continence management
- Items to improve mobility such as a walking frame or mobility scooter
- Nursing, allied health and therapy services
- Transport and personal assistance
- Management of skin integrity including bandages, dressings, and skin treatments.
- Home or garden maintenance
- Home alterations
- Visitors and social outings
- Assistive technology and telehealth
Read more about Home Care Package inclusions and exclusions:
What does a Home Care Package cost?
What you will need to contribute towards your Home Care Package will depend on your care needs, your financial situation, which level Home Care Package level you are allocated and which Home Care Package Provider you choose to manage the services you receive.
Out of pocket costs can include:
The basic daily fee: This set fee is paid by everyone who receives a Home Care Package. It ranges between $11.22 – $12.53 depending on your package level.
The income tested fee: Whether this fee is applicable is determined by an income and assets assessment conducted by Services Australia/Centrelink. It can be up to $35.95 per day.
Service and management fees: These fees vary depending on providers.
Additional service fees: Your Home Care Package Provider may charge additional fees that they must disclose to you as part of their fee breakdown.
My Aged Care has this handy tool to help you estimate what a Home Care Package may cost you: Fee estimator: How much will I pay? | My Aged Care
How to apply for a Home Care Package
Complete an aged care assessment (ACAT assessment)
An ACAT assessment is used to evaluate the care needs of individuals and determine who can access government subsidised aged care services. During the assessment a member of the My Aged Care Assessment Team, usually a nurse, social worker, or health care professional, will interview you to check your physical and mental health.
They’ll look at the way you manage day-to-day activities and speak with you about what aged care services will be best to help you.
Complete an assets and income assessment
An assets and income test is conducted by Services Australia (formally Centrelink) to determine how much you need to contribute to your Home Care Package.
Have a Home Care Package approved and allocated to you.
This can take 3-12 months, depending on demand, and the level of Home Care Package you require. Home Care Packages are allocated on a priority system, which is managed by My Aged Care
Find and engage a Home Care Package Provider
The easiest way to do this is connect with Aged Care Decisions and use our FREE comparison service to find available Home Care Providers in your area that specifically match your needs.
Are you considering residential care instead of a Home Care Package?
If you feel that you or your loved one would benefit more from moving to an aged care facility, visit Australia’s largest aged care reviews website at https://agedcarereviews.com.au/ to find helpful reviews of facilities near you.