How to benefit from the new home care system

We help decipher what home care you - or someone you love - is entitled to. Here’s what you need to know.

When you’re trying to work out what home care you’re entitled to, it can all seem too confusing and you don’t even know where to start.

But the good news is – pretty much everyone feels this way. In fact, when the government and organisations involved with home care sat down three years ago, they all agreed our home care system needed to be far more streamlined and easier to access.

They agreed upon a series of reforms to make the whole system easier to access and far more portable and directed by you - the customers. Most of these government reforms have gone ahead so now this new system called ‘consumer directed care’ (CDC) has been introduced.

The new home care system is all about you
CDC is a new way of delivering care and support services to you, the customer, in your home. With CDC, it’s assumed you know best and so you are the one who decides what mix of assistance and support you want in your home.

It’s different to the old system where your choices were limited to what a particular service provider could offer and you had to be assessed by the ACAR system to see what they were eligible for.

Now you can access what home care you want – choosing any approved provider you want – by following the directions and on the government site, My Aged Care.

Home care is now portable
Home care packages are no longer allocated to a specific geographic area and so this means they are portable. This means it is easier for you to change providers if you want to. So if you move to a new provider, you take any of your unspent funds with you.

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An Aged Care Assessment Team decide if you are eligible for a home care package

Staying at home longer
The best thing about the new home care system is it means you can stay in your own home for much longer because you are now able to access a far bigger range of home care services – and you can do all of this yourself, making your own choices along the way.

The new system is a win-win situation because you are able to stay at home for longer because you are getting help with a full range of home care services - paid for by the government.

On the other hand, the government is winning as well because there are so many people in the community reaching the over 65 mark in the next few years, they need a plan to help people stay in their home as long as possible.

The problem is, there just aren’t enough aged care homes for everyone to go around so ultimately, it makes sense for the government to make it easier for you to stay at home as long as possible, because this is the cheapest way for the country to look after our ageing population over the next 20 years.

Consumer directed care
In the new Home Care Packages Program, there are now four levels of home care packages and these are:

  1. Home Care Level 1 – to support people with basic care needs
  2. Home Care Level 2 – to support people with low level care needs
  3. Home Care Level 3 – to support people with intermediate care needs
  4. Home Care Level 4 – to support people with high care needs

The services provided in these new Home Care Packages include:

  • Support services – help with washing and ironing, house cleaning, gardening, basic home maintenance, home modifications related to your care needs, and transport to help you with shopping, visiting your doctor or attending social activities.
  • Personal care – such as help with showering or bathing, dressing and mobility.
  • Nursing, allied health and other clinical services – hearing services and vision services.
  • Care coordination and case management - help for you to get what you need.

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These services are designed to help meet your changing needs as you get older

Home Support Program
As well as these new Home Care Packages, a new program has started called the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), which will help you gain access to home care.

The CHSP provides entry level support services through a standard national assessment process via My Aged Care. CHSP is designed to deliver support services for you if you are able to stay living in your own home. However, if you live in Victoria or Western Australia, you need to take note there are some variations to this program due to a disagreement in the Commonwealth-State negotiations when the legislation was going through.

Where do I go for help?
The basis of all of this means, if you’re looking for help in your home, look up these sites and see what’s on offer:

  • Home Care Packages Program
  • The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)

The government says both of these programs - the CHSP and the new Home Care Packages Program - will be combined into one single home care system by July 2018.

Meanwhile, the best starting points if you need more information are Home Care Today and My Aged Care.

Home Care Today: This is a national site which gives you more information about the new consumer directed home care system and it’s a good place to start.

My Aged Care: This is the government’s gateway to all aged care services, hosted by the Department of Social Services. It’s often referred to as the one-stop-shop and it has just about everything you need to know.

What are the questions you want answered about the CDC?