National Seniors went into the federal election calling on the parties to commit to eliminating the unacceptably long waiting time most older Australians in need experience even after they have been assessed to receive a package.
92,000 people are waiting for level 3 and 4 packages, alone.
Of these more than 42,000 have no interim level of home care.
We keep hearing cases where people on the waiting list died before receiving assistance. Simply, the number of people requiring home care packages is outstripping supply.
We are keeping up the pressure on the Morrison government to address the problem by tripling the number of level 3 and 4 packages.
To recap -a home care package is a coordinated package of care and services to help you to live independently in your own home for as long as you can. There are four levels of support:
- Home Care Level 1 - basic care needs
- Home Care Level 2 - low level care needs
- Home Care Level 3 - intermediate care needs
- Home Care Level 4 - high care needs
It is important to know that you, as a client, are not limited to a basic list of services. Approved service providers will work with you to select services that best meet your needs and goals.
When you set up your Home Care Agreement with your service provider talk about how you can make sure your care plan best meets your goals and assessed needs. You may choose to set aside a very small part of your package funds for a planned future event.
It is important to include the care and services that let you make the best use of your package and budget. But what services should you choose?
Remember, you can change services afterwards but it is important that in the light of your assessment, and your finances, you discuss what you need and want with your service provider so they can put together a program of support that is best for you.
When a service provider offers you a home care package, they will work with you to develop an individual budget to fund your care plan. This sets out the total amount of funds available under your home care package and how those funds will be allocated and spent.
Your service provider administers the home care package funds on your behalf.
Your home care package budget is made up of:
- government subsidy (and eligible supplements)
- the basic daily care fee
- your maximum income tested care fee (if you’ve entered into Home Care after 1 July 2014) which you may need to pay based on your personal circumstances
- any other amount you’ve agreed to pay for extra care or services, not covered in your package
- all care and services provided to you through a home care package must be within your package budget, unless you make more contributions
- any unspent funds must be rolled over from month to month and year to year for as long as you remain in the package.
It is also worth knowing a little about the philosophy that underpins home care support. Put simply, the package is designed so that the client does not become dependent but as much as possible encourages their participation to better enable them to live a more active and independent life.
For more information, visit the Australian Government's My Aged Care website.
The election might be over but we will continue to fight for the rights of older Australians.