Accessing government-funded home care
What government funded aged care services are available?
The Australian Government funds the bulk of aged care in Australia, with the rest paid privately by individuals or volunteers. The government support is provided through the following initiatives:
Commonwealth Home Support Program (low level assistance)
The Government funds many organisations to provide entry-level, basic assistance such as meals on wheels, transportation, respite for carers, day therapy centres, nursing, housing, domestic assistance and personal care. To find a local organisation providing these kinds of services, visit www.myagedcare.gov.au or phone 1800 200 422. Fees apply for services, but are heavily discounted for pensioners or part pensioners.
Home Care Packages (high level assistance)
A Home Care Package is an individualised budget that you can use to make choices about the home care services you would like to receive, and who you would like to receive them from. There are four levels of Home Care Packages, which allocate a certain amount of funding based on your level of need. Your package is held by an ‘approved provider’ (such as Care Connect, ARV or Catholic Home Care Services) who is responsible for administering your funds and will charge you a fee to do this.
The provider also has a responsibility to ensure that your funding is being used in the right way. This means that they can have a say over what services you access – but they must now balance this with your right to choose how your funding is used.
Residential Care (in an aged care or nursing home)
Transition Care (temporary support at home, or nursing home, after leaving hospital)
The Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Package are the two initiatives which are specifically designed for those seeking support to continue living independently in their own home.
What does Consumer Directed Care mean for those accessing home care?
Consumer Directed Care is a term that is used to describe the new approach to providing services to ageing Australians.
It means that you are given an annual budget – comprised of the government funding you will receive as well as the contribution you make – and the right to use this budget to purchase the aged care services you need.
For the first time, it enables you to shop around for the types of services you want, and choose who you would like to provide those services. You can get the best price to make sure your funding goes further, and most importantly, you can develop a direct relationship with the person providing your care.
What does this mean for Home Care Packages specifically?
Before Consumer Directed Care, approved providers would tender to the government for funding (or, ‘bid’ for a certain number of Home Care Packages). They would receive this funding from the government and use it for the provision of different services to their clients.
A person receiving a service, such as a Home Care Package, would be told by the provider what services they would get for their package – and they would have little say over how many hours of care they received, and who provided it to them.
Under Consumer Directed Care, service providers still hold funding on your behalf, but the money from your Home Care Package is yours, to be used to access the services you want, from the care worker or organisation you choose.
Better Caring is not a provider – we do not manage your funds. However, Consumer Directed Care means that you can now ask your provider to use your funding to hire a local care worker that you choose from the Better Caring platform.