FAQs – Home Care Package Services

FAQs – Home Care Package Services

The ‘Home Care Today’ project ran from 2013 to June 2017. COTA Australia continues to provide access to Home Care Today resources which were current at June 2017. However they are no longer monitored or updated, and information may not be current.

What services do Home Care Packages provide?

Funds can be spent on most things that relates to your care and wellbeing. The list is endless – you have flexibility and choice – so be creative and persistent in getting what you want. Services need to fit within your package budget and be listed in your care plan. If you can afford to, you can pay for some extra things out of your personal funds.

There are some examples of things that people can buy:

Common spending itemsIndividualised and flexible spending items
Personal care – showering, dressing, continence managementPodiatry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy counselling, speech therapy, some vision aids, companion pet
Home care – cleaning of house (essential areas), laundry, making bedsProfessional laundering, spring cleaning, therapeutic bed mattress
Shopping Assistancehands-free phone
Transport to appointments, such as medical or even hairdresser (escorted by a care worker)Taxi vouchers to use to get around without a worker needing to be present
Meal preparationBasic cooking classes, meal delivery, diabetic magazine subscription
Basic garden and lawn maintenanceMaking raised garden beds, purchase or hire of some equipment and paying towards some modifications at home
In-home respite carePersonal support during travelling or whilst visiting other locations
Medication prompts, personal alarm monitoringWorker to help create photo memory books, go for a stroll in the park, out for coffee, walk the dog
Social activities and programsExercise programs and classes (such as hydrotherapy, yoga, massage, gym, personal trainer, treadmill, etc)

Is there anything that Home Care Packages DON’T provide?

Yes, some things are excluded. The package won’t pay for:

  • day-to-day bills
  • food
  • rent or mortgage payments
  • gambling
  • holidays
  • entertainment
  • things already covered by Medicare or Pharmaceutical Benefits
  • programs already funded or subsidised by the Australian Government.

How many hours can I get from my package?

It depends – and you are not locked in to purchasing hours of care. Your package gives you a specific amount of funding. Some of this money will go towards your Provider’s administrative and case management charges. The rest of your funding can be spent on services that support your independence, health and wellbeing. This can be hours of care or something else, depending on your care needs.

If you do decide to buy hours of care, you can expect to receive approximately the following range of hours of care from your package. Remember, this is not precise, and you can discuss your needs with the provider.

Level 1       approx. 2 hours per week (on average)

Level 2       approx. 3-4 hours per week (on average)

Level 3       approx. 7-9 hours per week (on average)

Level 4       approx. 10-13 hours per week (on average)

There are three main things that will impact on how much you have available to spend on your care and services:

  1. how much the provider charges your package for administration and case management
  2. how much the provider charges for each hour of care you receive – this may be anything from $40-60 per hour
  3. how much you contribute to your package budget by paying the Basic Daily Fee. (for more information, see ‘What is the Basic Daily Fee’

What is case management?

A case manager is a professional adviser who works with you (and your carers or representatives) to link you to the services and other resources that you want. Your case manager advises and supports you to:

  • navigate the system and get the services you need to stay at home
  • plan for the future
  • make adjustments if your circumstances and needs change, such as after an acute episode, or when a friend or family member is no longer able to help you.

Case management includes things like assessment, care planning, service coordination, managing budgets and reviewing how everything is going. You and your provider usually choose how much case management support you need and can adjust your budget accordingly.

Case managers sometimes have another title such as care manager, adviser, care facilitator, care coordinator etc.

What is a Home Care Agreement? What’s in it?

When you start a Home Care Package, you and your provider make an agreement that outlines the services you will receive. The agreement describes your rights and the provider’s rights. It will also refer to other documents like your budget and agreed care plan. Home Care Agreements are legally binding.

Whats the difference between a ‘provider’ and a ‘service provider’?

Only an approved Home Care Package provider can host a Home Care Package. Approved providers have satisfied the Department of Health’s legal and social requirements to administer packages on behalf of consumers.

A service provider is any company that delivers the actual service or hours of care, such as direct care services, gardening, podiatry, home cleaning, personal care etc.

Some Home Care Package providers are also service providers as they employ their own direct care staff. It is expected that all providers are able to buy direct care and other services from external service providers as well.

Can I change provider if I’m not satisfied?

From February 2017, people with Home Care Packages will be able to change providers, taking their package funding with them to the new provider. If you’re happy with the services you’re getting, you don’t need to do anything, but if you want to change, you can. Changing providers will be easiest if you are moving to another area or looking for a better fit.

Before you decide to change, check your Home Care Agreement for any fees or special conditions. Providers are allowed to charge an exit fee, which must be mentioned in your Home Care Agreement.

DOWNLOAD our printable: Home Care Today – FAQs