What can home care funding be used for?
Home care packages are levels of funding allocated to older people who are living at home, who need support with tasks or purchases. These packages are funded by the Commonwealth Government, accessed via My Aged Care and approved for by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS).
There are four levels of home care packages and the funding corresponds to the level of support deemed appropriate during the ACAT assessment.
When a person is assigned their home care package, they’ll receive a letter from My Aged Care advising this and the person has 56 days to choose a provider and sign an agreement with them. People can choose to have a provider manage every aspect of their home care package or they can choose to self-manage their home care package.
What one person receives from their home care package, what they choose to spend their funding on, can be different to the next person.
As it should be.
Your home care package funding should be used to support you with the things that are most important to you, to remain well and able and allow you to stay at home for as long as possible.
Many people will choose to have domestic assistance and yard maintenance paid for from the package funding, but you don’t have to. Some people choose to make purchases from the package funding, such as mobility aids and equipment that will enhance their independence at home. What services or purchases you choose, should directly reflect your individual needs.
I’ll use my own parents to demonstrate a couple of services and purchases that were unique to them.
My dad had dementia and lived with Mum at home. As his dementia progressed he began sundowning. The hours between 4 and 6pm each evening were really challenging. We came up with a sundowning mitigation plan and this involved taking Dad for a drive each evening. We’d sometimes take Dad, but mostly Mum did. He was very settled during the drive and it made the rest of the evening easier. My mum is an aged pensioner, as was Dad. The cost of fuel for the car was a cost that really pushed their weekly budget out.
I had a letter written that I presented to Dad’s provider, discussing the sundowning mitigation plan and recommending fuel be covered from Dad’s home care package. The package provider was excellent and agreed to cover half of the cost of petrol, each time Mum filled the car. The reason the provider accepted this request was the reason was directly linked to Dad’s individual needs and formed part of his care plan.
Mum was recently diagnosed with diabetes. The health implications for diabetes mean that over time, it likely the nerves in her feet will be affected by the diabetes and she’ll lose the sensitivity in her feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy.
Mum has a companion dog who is a digger. He digs holes in the garden and sits in them to make himself cooler. When he comes inside he brings sand and pebbles in his coat.
Though Mum has a cleaner weekly, it is impossible to keep the floors clean. She tried using her own vacuum but tripped three times on the cord. We told her not to use the vacuum anymore.
My sister and I vacuum whenever we go to Mum’s but we just don’t have the time to be going to Mum’s every day.
So we tried Mum with a stick vacuum (no cord) but this was too heavy for Mum to manage.
We looked at a robot type vacuum. The robot vacuum can be programmed to complete its job when Mum is having an afternoon nap or when she is out. It also goes back to its docking station and empties the dirt each time, only requiring a weekly emptying of the docking station bin. We’ve asked her cleaner to empty the docking station bin each week.
Mum’s provider accepted the request for this purchase as the need was directly linked to her health condition, well being and reduction of risk, being the risk of ulceration under her feet if she trod on a pebble.
My advice when you’re wondering about what the package will cover, what you can use the funds for is to take the time to reflect on your needs or the needs of your older loved one. Take a look at a health summary from the GP and establish needs relating to health conditions. The more detail you can convey to your package provider, the greater the possibility for having more services or purchases funded by your home care package.
Some useful links
We published a series by Coral Wilkinson on Carers’ Circle – Getting started with home care. The links to these useful articles are listed below:
How do I get started with aged care services? https://carerscircle.com.au/2022/01/12/how-do-i-get-started-with-aged-care-services/
How do you get your ageing parent to accept help? Turn resistance into acceptance https://carerscircle.com.au/2022/01/12/ageing-parent-accept-help/
What to think about before contacting My Aged Care – https://carerscircle.com.au/2022/01/12/what-to-think-about-before-contacting-my-aged-care/
Registering for aged care services with My Aged Care – https://carerscircle.com.au/2022/01/12/registering-for-aged-care-services/
Other useful links include:
See Me Aged Care Navigators – experts in navigating the home care space to make sure your loved one gets the optimal service and support tailored to their needs – https://www.seemeacn.com.au/
Australian Federal Government website to access all aged care services – My Aged Care – https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/ This is where you register for an assessment to access most government-subsidised aged care services. Please do your research and plan and prepare before you make your call to register your parent. Check out the site, the services available etc. Think about your parent’s situation, what they need etc.
Carers’ Circle article on accessing aged care services – with an ACAT assessment – https://carerscircle.com.au/2019/02/17/how-to-access-aged-care-services/
Coral’s article on Carers’ Circle on care plans – https://carerscircle.com.au/2022/11/01/what-is-a-care-plan/
Still feel confused and wanting more guidance?
Coral is hosting a series of master classes to educate people on all things aged care. They will take place the first Wednesday of every month starting 1 March 2023. For more information, check out the See Me Aged Care Navigator’s Facebook page.