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How to help a family member through their Home Care Package journey

Senior women giving each other high five

As our population ages, more quality care and support services are necessary to cater for seniors’ needs. In your family, there might be someone who is beginning to experience the impact that ageing can have on their independence and freedom. However, by following the below five steps, you can help your loved one to organise an assessment, receive a Home Care Package and find a provider that can suit their needs.

Before you can begin to help your family member receive funding for the right care and support, you may wish to spend time discussing their needs. If you’re unsure how to approach this conversation, you might like to read our article on conversation starters.

1. Organising an assessment

To start the journey of applying for a home care package, your family member will need to firstly complete an assessment which is carried out by the Aged Care Assessment Team – this is known as an ACAT assessment.

To organise an ACAT assessment, you will need to get in touch with My Aged Care, the nationwide government aged care service. Before you call My Aged Care, you might like to brainstorm a few important living aspects with your family member, such as:

      • living arrangements;
      • details about their health;
      • any limitations they may be experiencing; and
      • support they are already receiving.

The My Aged Care team may ask your family member questions about these aspects during their initial discussion to decipher what type of support they might need.

Many people who request an assessment through My Aged Care may initially undergo a home support assessment which is carried out by a Regional Assessment Service (RAS). Similar to an ACAT assessment, a home support assessment will occur in your home. You may be asked to have this assessment if the My Aged Care team believe you might benefit from ‘entry level’ services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). If the assessor thinks you would benefit from intermediate or higher-level care, they may refer you to an ACAT assessor.

2. Completing the assessment

An ACAT assessor will most likely be a local nurse, social worker or healthcare professional. They will typically visit the home of the person seeking care and support to carry out the assessment. People seeking support are able to have a family member, carer or friend to accompany them during the assessment.

During the ACAT assessment, the assessor will ask:

      • what support your family member already receives;
      • for information about their lifestyle and health;
      • any intellectual or physical problems they might be experiencing;
      • their participation in family and community; and
      • their communication with health professionals.

The assessor may also begin discussing the potential costs of the services your family member requires.

An ACAT assessment is an important stepping stone in allowing your family member to receive beneficial support. During the assessment, your family member has many rights – you can learn more about those rights here.

You can find our complete guide on how to prepare for an ACAT assessment here.

3. Waiting for a Home Care Package

After an ACAT assessment, the assessor will make a decision about your family members’ needs. If they are considered eligible for a home care package, your family member should receive an approval letter from ACAT. If not, they will receive information regarding why they are ineligible.

If your family member is ineligible for a home care package, they can request a review from ACAT.

In some cases, it can take months to be allocated a home care package. In December 2018, the waitlist of Australians who are queued to receive a package rose to 127,000, so there is a chance your family member may need to wait for a package. If your family member has been notified that they are on the waitlist for a home care package, you can still help them to organise support while they wait.

Organising support while waiting for a Home Care Package

If your family member is requiring support but they’re waiting for a home care package to fund their services, there are cost-effective options available. Remember, in-home support doesn’t have to be expensive.

The Mable platform can help people seeking aged care to connect with independent support workers near them. Each independent support worker on Mable suggests their own hourly rates and you can work with support workers to choose an hourly rate that suits you, your loved one and the support worker. To learn more about how Mable stacks up against other services, click here.

4. Working out the costs

When your family member is allocated a home care package, they will be notified via a letter from My Aged Care. The letter will also include which level of home care package they have been assigned.

Home Care Package Levels

  • Level 1: Yearly government contribution of approx. $8,800 per year.
  • Level 2: Yearly government contribution of approx. $15,500 per year.
  • Level 3: Yearly government contribution of approx. $33,700 per year.
  • Level 4: Yearly government contribution of approx. $51,100 per year.

Please note that these figures increase each year, and that these figures are rounded.

Contributions to the Home Care Package

Based on your family member’s income, they will most likely be asked to make a small contribution to the package. If they are unable to provide the contribution, you can help them apply for financial hardship assistance to have the fees waived or reduced. Click here to learn more.

5. Selecting a provider

Home Care Packages are enabling thousands of ageing Australians to experience the benefits of Consumer Directed Care. Consumer Directed Care means individuals have the ability to choose what services they want and who comes into their home.

When receiving a home care package, your family member will also need to connect with an Approved Provider (or Home Care Provider). A Provider can help manage your family members’ funds and maintain their care services.

On Mable, you can create a profile on behalf of your family member, begin connecting to support workers and get in touch with the Mable Team who can help connect your loved one to an Approved Home Care Provider to host your funding. With Mable, it’s possible to ‘self-manage’ a home care package. This means your loved one can have their package hosted by an Approved Home Care Provider for a low administration fee, so they can focus more funding on support services.

If you’d like to help your family member experience independence, choice and complete control while accessing support via a home care package, the Mable platform can help kickstart their support journey.

Want to learn more about how Mable can help your loved one connect to the right care and support? Head to Mable today.

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