On 27 February, new changes come into effect for home care packages offered by the Australian Government. If you are currently on a home care package or are looking into home care options, there are some important changes that you need to know about.
The most important change is that your home care package will be allocated to you, rather than to a provider. This will allow you to move your package to another provider if you decide you’re unhappy with the services you’re receiving, or you need to move to another suburb or state that your provider doesn’t service.
When considering changing providers, and when choosing a new one, ask whether there will be an exit fee that you will need to pay.
If you’re happy with your current provider you don’t need to make a change, but you have the ability to do so if your circumstances change in the future.
Home care packages are offered in four levels depending on the services you need. These are:
- Home Care Level 1
Supports people with basic care needs
- Home Care Level 2
Supports people with low level care needs
- Home Care Level 3
Supports people with intermediate care needs
- Home Care Level 4
Supports people with high care needs
Currently, home care packages are allocated based on low (level 1 and 2) or high (level 3 and 4) needs and your provider works with you to decide on the level package you need, and what’s available.
From 27 February, if you are approved for a home care package you will be allocated a package for a specific level which you can then take to a provider who has capacity to deliver those services.
For those already on a package, you will be given the highest level package in your band; level 2 for those with low care needs, and level 4 for those with high care needs.
Finding a provider
Queenslander provider Ozcare is one of several organisations that offer home care services to those approved for home care packages.
“We’re a huge supporter of these changes, giving package holders more power to move providers keeps us all at the top of our game,” Head of Community Care Damian Foley said.
With so many home care providers, and many more looking to enter the market, it can be difficult to distinguish between them all. Damian recommends looking into the range of services that can be offered by the provider, and what administration costs will be.
“Our point of difference is our care team - each one of our clients has access to a team of nurses, carers, allied health professionals, and dementia specialists who work together to look at all aspects of the client’s care.
“We also make sure our clients have consistent carers because we know this is really important to them. It’s critical that they’re comfortable with the person that might be helping them with quite personal activities like taking a shower.
“We’ve been providing aged care services for more than 20 years and with dementia services, day respite centres, a retirement village and ten residential care facilities, we can offer seniors care no matter what their needs or lifestyle.”