Waiting for your Home Care Package?
Top 5 tips to get care sooner
Home Care Packages provide help with the costs of in-home care. And while everyone who qualifies on medical grounds is granted a package, the government only releases a limited number of packages at a time, meaning that even if you’re approved, you’ll likely have to wait before using it.
If you qualify for a package, you’re put in a needs-based queue; the wait depends on the level of care you need, with those with the highest care needs waiting 12 months or more before the funding is available.
This obviously isn’t ideal; a person needing care at home typically can’t wait that long. So while you’re waiting for the package funding to come through, here are some things you can do to ensure you get the care you need.
1. Get bridging care
While you’re waiting, you can evaluate different home care providers. You get to choose who delivers your care, so it’s worth arranging to meet a few providers, to make sure you’re comfortable with the people and the services they offer. If you’ve been accepted for a Home Care Package already, ask different providers whether you can access discounted ‘bridging care’ in the interim. Some providers might be willing to offer a deal if you commit to using them as your provider when your package comes through. See if there’s a discount, or whether they’ll waive the standard daily care fee. It doesn’t always work, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
2. Choose a lower-level package
Given that the wait is typically a lot shorter for the lowest-level care package (Level 1), it may be worthwhile taking that package, while still remaining on the waiting list for your approved higher- level package. There will still be a gap between what you receive and what you need to pay for the care you need, but every little bit helps.
3. Pay for care yourself
While not everyone can afford this option, you don’t have to go without care just because you’re on a waiting list. You can pay for your care out of your own pocket until the package becomes available. To ease the financial burden a little, some expenses may be tax deductible too. As with bridging care, you can also ask whether discounts are available to you if you commit to continuing with your provider after your Home Care Package is available.
Depending on your financial circumstances, paying for your own care can sometimes be the best option. For example, a self-funded retiree can be asked to pay more than $10,000 a year to supplement their Home Care Package (and this is on top of the standard daily fee of around $10). For some people, a Home Care Package simply doesn’t add up.
4. Take advantage of respite care
Depending on the results of your Aged Care Assessment, you might qualify for up to 63 days of residential respite care in an aged care home. For people with high-level care needs, this can take a significant amount of strain off. Many residential aged care homes have rooms specifically held for this purpose, although you may need to wait for a place to become available. Based on ongoing assessments, this initial 63 day period can be extended in 3-week lots if continued high-level care is needed.
5. Councils and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme
If you have lower-level care needs – such as occasional day therapies, a bit of help around the home from time to time, or just a hand for a short time while you recover from an accident or illness – the CHSP (HACC in WA) offers entry-level home care, and might be just the thing to tide you over while waiting for your Home Care Package.
Contact your local council or call MyAgedCare on 1800 200 422 to learn more.