The Home Care Packages Program
The Home Care Packages Program can help older Australians to live independently in their own home. The program provides a subsidy towards a package of care and services to meet a client’s goals, preferences and needs.
The Home Care Packages Program provides 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
Home care package clients are not limited to a basic list of services. Clients can use their home care package funds to purchase a wide range of services including:
- Clinical care, such as nursing, allied health and physiotherapy for mobility and strength
- Support services, such as help around the home, visiting the doctor and attending social activities
- Personal care, such as help with showering, dressing and moving around the home
- Care coordination
You have the ability to broker out services to meet the needs of your clients if you are not able to provide a specific service yourself.
You will work in partnership with your client to tailor care and services to best support their needs and goals. Care and services provided to clients is based on the client's assessed care needs as determined by the Aged Care Assessment Team and as identified in the care plan. Home care package funds cannot be used as a general source of income for items such as day-to day bills, care registration, mortgage payments or rent as an example.
What is Consumer Directed Care (CDC)
Home care packages are required to be delivered on a consumer directed care (CDC) basis. CDC is both a philosophy and an orientation to service delivery and planning of care. The main objective of CDC is to offer clients more choice and flexibility about:
- The types of care and services provided
- How care and services are delivered
- Who delivers the care and services
- When care and services are delivered
Home Care Package Provider requirements
You must work in partnership with your clients to understand what they want and hope to achieve, and then deliver services that meet those needs.
Service provider responsibilities are outlined in the User Rights Principles 2014. Requirements for home care providers include:
- A Home Care Agreement must be offered to each client. The Agreement records the administrative details of the service delivery relationship.
- A written care plan must be provided to your client within 14 calendar days of entering into a Home Care Agreement, which sets out the day-to-day services that will be provided and how they will be delivered.
- An Individualised budget must be provided to the client that records the funds available in their home care package (including Government subsidies and supplements and fees or contributions paid by the client) and how they will be used.
- A Monthly statement must be provided to the client outlining the available funds and expenditure for their package in the relevant month.
When agreed by both parties the individualised budget and care plan form part of the Home Care Agreement.
The Home Care Agreement
The Home Care Agreement needs to include information as set out in the Aged Care Act 1997 such as:
- The home care service that will provide care to the client
- The levels of care and services that the provider has capacity to provide
- The policies and practices for setting fees that a client may be asked to pay
- The circumstances that services may be suspended or terminated by either party and the amounts that the client will need to pay during this period
- The complaints process
- Client responsibilities.
The Home Care Agreement must also comply with the requirements specified in the User Rights Principles 2014.
The Care Plan
The care plan should outline:
- The client’s goals, needs and preferences
- The services that will support the client’s care needs and identified goals
- Who will provide the care and services
- When care and services will be provided, including the frequency and details of when regular services are expected to be provided (e.g. days/times)
- Case management arrangements, including how ongoing monitoring and reviews will be managed
- The level of involvement the client will have in managing their package
- The frequency of formal reassessments
Ongoing management of home care package services
During ongoing service delivery you must:
- Have conversations with your clients about their needs and goals to ensure they are being met by the services you are providing
- Work in partnership to update and co-produce a client’s care plan
- Explain the monthly statement, including the funding available under their package and how those funds are being spent
- Agree with each client the level of involvement that they will have in managing their package
- Conduct ongoing monitoring and formal reassessment to ensure that care and services continue to meet their needs
You are obliged to provide a copy of the Charter of care recipients’ rights and responsibilities – home care to your clients and explain its content to them.
Some clients may like to have a support person with them during their discussions with you. Their support person may be an advocate, family member or friend, and you should support and encourage this involvement.
Key Points to Remember
- You are required to enter into a Home Care Agreement with your client.
- Within 14 calendar days of signing a Home Care Agreement, you must provide your client with their personalised care plan.
- You must provide an individualised budget to your client so that they can see how their funds will be used.
- Once agreed the care plan and individualised budget forms part of their Home Care Agreement.
- You must issue monthly statements to your clients so they can keep track of how their funds are being used.
- Have regular conversations with your client as part of the ongoing management of their care to ensure you aware of any concerns or issues and work towards rectifying them.
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This fact sheet provides general guidance to support the Home Care Packages Program. It does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a substitute for responsibilities under the legislative framework.