Across Tasmania, more and more people are needing to understand what Home Care Packages are all about and how to identify a good Provider.
What is a Home Care Package all about?
Put simply, a Home Care Package is funding from the Australian Government for a bundle of services to enable someone to stay at home, with the support and care they need, as an alternative to long term residential care.
It is called ‘Home Care’ because the programme is focused on enabling people to stay living independently in their own homes, and in their own community.
This is not the same as the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), which is a basic, entry-level home support program, albeit with similar goals.
Rather, Home Care is a high level of care for someone who needs a comprehensive, long term, coordinated package of care in order to avoid unnecessarily going into a residential care home.
It is called a ‘package’ for two reasons. The funding is fixed at 4 levels, in increasing steps of funds for increasing levels of need.
Each level of Home Care provides a total budget that the funded services must operate within.
When assessed as eligible and approved for a package and once a person formally accepts this from the Government, they have a permanent place in the programme – it is their package, and they can choose and change their Provider, and their funds will move with them.
Following assessment, people who are eligible and accept a Home Care Package are called ‘Consumers’, and they then need to choose an Approved Provider of Home Care.
Approved Home Care Providers are authorised by the Australian Government to coordinate Home Care on behalf of Consumers who choose them. This doesn’t mean that they have to or even should provide all of your services.
Their job is to administer the Home Care Package on behalf of a consumer, including holding the funds.
A good Provider will allow you to direct not only what services you believe you need, but also who you want to provide those services, and when.
How do you identify a good Home Care Approved Provider?
You may need some extra help around home, or you may need expert care full time.
Your services may focus on assisting you with things you find difficult to do, that you’ve always done, such as completing household tasks, or looking after yourself so that you can get out and about and do the things you enjoy.
A good Approved Provider will understand and respect your requirements, and be there to cater for all of your needs, preferences and goals.
Here are 7 things that you can do to identify a good Home Care Approved Provider:
1. Know what you need
Try to make a list of all of the services that you think you need in order to remain living independently at home; whether it relates to the type of staff you want or need, or the range of services that you require and hope are available.
2. Find out the options available
Try to find out who are the good providers with a good reputation in Tasmania. You can search online but it may be better to ask your GP or your Community Health Centre, where you can rely on the perspective of an independent health Provider.
3. Find out the qualifications of each Provider
Before choosing a Provider you should try to do some research. Try to find out how much health professional experience the Provider has, and the level of training and qualifications of their staff and the coordinator who would be overseeing your health and care needs.
4. Compare the differences
Each Provider will be different. Some have low fixed fees because they use admin staff to coordinate your package, but you would pay by the hour to have the assistance or advice of a health professional. Others will employ a health professional to coordinate all of your needs, and although their fixed fees may be a bit higher, you benefit from their experience and qualifications to oversee your health and care.
Here are some things to compare between Home Care Providers that you are considering:
Their reputation with trusted people in the health and care system, such as hospital staff or your General Practice;
How long they have been working in this profession, and what are the qualifications of their staff;
How available they are to take on your care, whether they cater for your preferences, and whether they offer the full range of available supports and services possible.
5. Decide to make the move
If you currently have a Provider and you want or need to make a positive change, decide to make the move by setting a date and letting your current Provider know about it. All you need to do is send them an email and ask them to provide you with a final statement of how much unspent Home Care funds you have, so that you can make sure this is transferred to your new Care Provider.
6. Use your referral code
All you need to do is give your referral code to your new Provider. This is on a letter sent to you by the Department of Health. Your new Provider needs this code to make sure the subsidy is paid to them. You can’t make the move to a new Provider without this, so if you have lost your referral code, just contact My Aged Care to request it.
7. Know your exit fees
Make sure you factor in that some providers will charge an exit fee. You could check your existing Home Care agreement if you don’t want to ask them directly, because any exit fees your current provider may charge must be a part of your home care agreement.
Finding and making the move to a good Home Care Provider can a difficult. It can be a complex decision, which may be confusing.
You may not know what services are available to you. There may be less availability of service providers in remote areas. If English is not your first language you may find it harder to gain or understand information. If this is the case, the Translating and Interpreting Service may provide you with some help; just call 131 450.
We are also here to help and we’re just a call or email away.
We’re really keen to assist in whatever way we can.