If you’re just beginning the journey of researching options when it comes to receiving support to remain living independently at home, whether it’s for you or a loved one,it’s likely you’ll soon be undergoing your assessment. We reveal what you should expect as you start this journey, and what you can do if you’re interested in using your government funding to find and engage your own support workers via Mable.
When it becomes apparent that you or a loved one may need support to remain living at home, it can be an uncertain time. For people who are ageing, the thought of someone coming into your home to provide support can be associated with a loss of control and independence. But it doesn’t need to be.
Understanding what you can expect from the process of obtaining support can help to calm those fears. We take you through the first steps and explain how you can remain in complete control of what support you receive, when you receive it and who comes into your home to provide it.
Getting started with Home Care Packages
The starting point to access any aged care service is the government’s My Aged Care contact centre. You can call them on 1800 200 422 or visit their website at www.myagedcare.gov.au.
When you contact My Aged Care, you will undergo a quick phone screening so that your care needs can be assessed. Based on this initial assessment, you will either be referred to a Regional Assessment Service or to an Aged Care Assessment Team, or ACAT, for a more comprehensive assessment.If you are referred to a Regional Assessment Service, it generally means that you require a Commonwealth Home Support Program for basic level support. If you have multiple, more complex or ongoing care and support needs, you will be referred for a more comprehensive ACAT assessment to assess your eligibility for a Home Care Package.
What happens at your ACAT Assessment
Your ACAT assessment is designed to determine whether you are eligible for a Home Care Package, or if you require other services such as transition or respite care, or need to consider moving into a residential facility.
A member of your local Aged Care Assessment Team, usually a nurse, social worker or other health care professional, will make an appointment to come to see you at home. It could be helpful to have a family member or a support worker present, and you can also request a translator if it’s required.
Here’s what to expect at the meeting:
- You’ll be taken through a series of questions to discover how you are managing day-to-day.
- The ACAT representative may also ask your permission to talk to your doctor about your medical history.
- Your options will be discussed with you, such as whether you would prefer to stay in your own home and what kind of support you might need to do that.
- You’ll receive information about what services are available and what kind of support plan might work for you.
- The next steps will be explained to you, which will include the ACAT representative taking your information back to the team, who will determine your level of package.
It’s important to note that at this point, you are not required to make any decisions about your support. Remember – the services that are presented to you are not the only ones out there and you have the ability to shop around and find the type of support that suits your needs the best.
Receiving your Home Care Package
Following your assessment, you will receive a letter from My Aged Care which will confirm whether you are eligible for a Home Care Package and what level you have been approved for. It will also outline the reasons for the decision as well as a copy of your support plan developed during your assessment.
However, just because it is decided that you are eligible for a Home Care Package, it doesn’t mean that you will automatically receive one. In Australia, there is a shortage of packages available, so it’s likely you will be placed on a waiting list. My Aged Care has approximate wait times listed on their website. You can also find out your wait time by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or by accessing your client record using MyGov.
There is less of a wait time for lower level packages, so you may be able to get help sooner by receiving an interim package, which is a Home Care Package of a lower level than the one you’re approved to receive.
How to take control of your support using your Home Care Package
Once you reach the top of the waiting list and are allocated a Home Care Package, you will receive a letter which provides you with a unique referral code. Now is the time to select an approved aged care provider who will ‘host’ your package and provide you with services.
The Mable platform provides you with access to Australia’s largest community of independent support workers offering services directly to people in their community. We like to call this “self-managing your home care package” because you’re taking control. For those who are able and willing to take control, there are lots of reasons why it’s a great option:
- You can choose individual independent support workers and have the comfort of knowing who is coming to your home
- You can choose the services you receive and are in charge of your own support schedule
- You can get creative about the type of support you’re looking for and tailor it to your life and interests
- Our approved provider partners offer a lower administrative fee, freeing up more funding for you to spend on your services. That means more hours of support for you each week. For some, it has meant double the hours of support that they would have been able to access via a more traditional provider.
If you’re interested in using Mable to manage your own support, contact us on 1300 73 65 73 and we can put you in touch with one of our Approved Provider Partners, who would host your Home Care Package for you.
What you can do in the meantime
If you are just starting your Home Care Package journey, chances are there will be a wait ahead of you to begin to use your funding. If you are in this situation, you can get access to affordable, flexible care immediately by engaging the support you need directly through Mable. With average rates for independent support workers on the Mable platform between $35 and $40 an hour, it’s an affordable solution, however given that you’re likely to be paying out of pocket while you’re waiting for a Home Care Package to become available, it’s important to make sure your money is going a long way.