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Home Support and Care Options

There are several government-funded programs that support frail older people to remain living at home for as long as possible:

  • Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) 
  • Veterans’ Home Care (VHC)
  • Home Care Packages

The first two programs provide a basic level of support. Home Care Packages provide for more complex care needs. You can only receive assistance from one of the above programs at any one time.
 

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Respite Care

What is the Commonwealth Home Support Program?

The CHSP program is funded by the Commonwealth Government and caters for people over 65 (or over 50 if of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background). The program funds a range of organisations to provide basic home support services including:

  • shopping
  • home modification
  • home maintenance
  • safety and security
  • cleaning
  • day care
  • allied health services e.g. podiatry
  • disability aids
  • social support
  • personal care
  • nursing care
  • respite care
  • meals
  • transport

My Aged Care is national service that provides information on Commonwealth-funded aged care and support services. This gateway will check your eligibility for CHSP services and will refer you to a provider covering your area. If necessary My Aged Care will refer you to a Regional Assessment Service for a face-to-face assessment. Tel. 1800 200 422. 

If you have concerns about a CHSP service, speak to the provider first. If you are over 65 (or over 50 if of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background) the Aged Rights Advocacy Service can provide information about your rights and advocate on your behalf. Tel. 8232 5377 or 1800 700 600 (SA Country callers).

My Aged Care is national service that provides information on Commonwealth-funded services.
Tel 1800 200 422

What about complaints?
If you are not happy with the services provided you have the right to complain. If and have spoken to the HACC service provider and the issues are still unresolved you can contac the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner if you are receiving Commonwealth-funded HACC services. Tel. 1800 550 552.

What is Veterans Home Care?

VHC is funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to provide basic home support services for eligible veterans and war widows.

Services may include personal care, domestic assistance, home and garden maintenance and respite care.
Veterans can choose to receive services through the CHSP program or VHC. Once in receipt of VHC Veterans can only receive a CHSP-funded service if that service is unavailable through VHC.

Eligibility is based on assessed need. To arrange an assessment, tel. 1300 550 450.

What are Home Care Packages?

Home Care Packages include a range of home care and support services that are tailored to meet the individual needs of people. The Australian government provides a subsidy to approved service providers to coordinate/facilitate the care services.

Packages are flexible and may include assistance with: personal hygiene and dressing, domestic tasks, preparing meals, shopping, transport, gardening and social support, restorative care.

Consumer Directed Care (CDC)

From July 2015 all Home Care Packages are to be delivered on a CDC basis. This means allowing consumers to make choices about the types of care and services they access and the delivery of those services, including who will deliver the services and when.

Under a CDC approach, consumers are encouraged by the service provider to identify goals, which could include independence, wellness and ‘re-ablement’ (assistance with regaining function or finding different ways of performing tasks of daily living). These will form the basis of the Home Care Agreement and care plan. The consumer decides the level of involvement they wish to have in managing their package.

What types of care packages are available?

Four levels of Commonwealth-funded Home Care Packages are available

  • Level 1 - For people with basic care needs
  • Level 2 - For people with low level care needs
  • Level 3 - For people with intermediate level care needs
  • Level 4 - For people with high level care needs

Level 2 is equivalent to the previous Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs), while Level 4 is equivalent to the previous Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages. 

How do I find out if I am eligible?

To be eligible for any of the packages of care, your care needs must first be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). The assessment is free of charge. 

A member of the ACAT will visit you to determine if you are eligible and which type of care package is the most suitable for you. The team will decide if your care needs can be met within the scope and funding of the program and that you have a genuine desire to remain at home.

If you are eligible, the ACAT will explain the application and will either forward a copy to a package program coordinator in your area, or give you phone numbers of local providers.

Contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to be referred to an ACAT. To find a provider of Home Care Packages call My Aged Care or search the website.

Lists of Home Home Care Package providers are also avaialable from the Publications page of this website.

How much will I have to pay?

You will be asked to pay the basic care fee, which is 17.5% of the maximum basic rate of pension (not including pharmaceutical allowance, rent assistance, or a pension supplement). Full pensioners only pay the basic care fee.

If you are part-pensioner or self-funded retiree, depending on your assessable income you may also be asked to pay an income-tested fee. Centrelink will assess whether you need to pay based on the information you provide using the form Aged Care Fees Income Assessment. Annual and lifetime caps apply to the income-tested care fee. 

What are my rights if I receive a Home Care Package?

The Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for Home Care lists your rights Some of these rights are:

  • to be involved in identifying the community care most appropriate for your needs
  • to receive services as described in the plan that take account of your lifestyle, other care arrangements and cultural, linguistic and religious preferences
  • to be offered a written agreement that includes all agreed matters
  • to choose a person to speak on your behalf for any purpose.

The Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS) can provide information about your rights and help you resolve your concerns. Tel. 8232 5377 or 1800 700 600 (SA country callers).

What about complaints?

If you are not happy with the services provided, you have the right to complain. If you have spoken to the package provider and the issues are still unresolved, you can contact the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on tel. 1800 550 552. This is a free service.

What if I am not eligible for these services?

If you are under 65 years of age (50 if indigenous) and have a disability you may be eligible for some State-funded support services. Contact Disability SA’s Information and Referral Service on 1300 786 117.

If you wish to consider private services contact Seniors Information Services for information on providers operating in your area.

Support for carers

If you are caring for a relative or a friend who is frail, has a disability, severe chronic condition or a mental illness, your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre can assist with planning and coordinating respite care and with accessing carer support services. Tel. 1800 052 222.
 

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Seniors Information Service is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Visit the Department of Social Services website (www.dss.gov.au) for more information. Although funding for this service has been provided by the Australian Government, the material contained herein does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Australian Government.