Helping older Australians to live independently for longer
The Home Care Packages program assists people to remain living at home for as long as possible and provides choice and flexibility in the way that care and support is provided at home.
Although there is not a minimum age requirement for eligibility, the Home Care Packages Program is targeted at frail older people. In some cases, younger people with disabilities, dementia or special care needs may be able to access a Home Care Package if they have been assessed and approved by an Aged Care Assessment Service and a provider is able to offer an appropriate package for the person.
VincentCare currently operates more than 170 Home Care Packages throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria.
Special needs groups
Under the Aged Care Act 1997, people with special needs include people who identify with or belong to one or more of the following groups:
- People from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
- People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds;
- People who live in rural and remote areas;
- People who are financially or socially disadvantaged;
- People who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless;
- People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex;
- People who are care leavers; and
- Parents separated from their children by forced adoption or removal.
The majority of Home Care Packages coordinated by VincentCare target people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness or who are financially or socially disadvantaged.
There are four levels of Home Care Packages:
- Level 1 - people with basic support needs
- Level 2 - people with low level care needs
- Level 3 - people with intermediate care needs
- Level 4 - people with high care needs
Services and support available under Home Care Packages levels
There is a wide range of care and support services available for people to access, for the purpose of assisting them to remain living independently and achieve their identified goals.
Consumer directed care
All Home Care Packages must be provided on a consumer directed care basis. This means a provider will work with the client to identify a Home Care Package of care and services to meet their needs to live a more active and independent life.
The types of services you can access under a Home Care Package include, but are not limited to:
- Personal services: assistance with personal activities such as bathing, showering, toileting, dressing and undressing, mobility and communication.
- Nutrition, hydration, meal preparation and diet: assistance with preparing meals, including special diets for health, religious, cultural or other reasons; assistance with using eating utensils and assistance with feeding.
- Continence management: assistance in using continence aids and appliances such as disposable pads and absorbent aids, commode chairs, bedpans and urinals, catheter and urinary drainage appliances, and enemas.
- Mobility and dexterity: providing crutches, quadruped walkers, walking frames, walking sticks, mechanical devices for lifting, bed rails, slide sheets, sheepskins, tri-pillows, pressure-relieving mattresses and assistance with the use of these aids.
- Nursing, allied health and other clinical services: speech therapy, podiatry, occupational or physiotherapy services, hearing and vision services. Home care level 1 and 2 packages are not intended to provide comprehensive clinical or health services. Home care level 3 and 4 packages have a greater emphasis on delivering complex care in the home, including more clinical care where needed.
- Transport and personal assistance: assistance with shopping, visiting health practitioners and attending social activities.
- Management of skin integrity: assistance with bandages, dressings and skin emollients.
A Home Care Package may also be used to support the use of:
- Telehealth: video conferencing and digital technology (including remote monitoring) to increase access to timely and appropriate care.
- Assistive technology: such as aids and equipment (particularly those that assist a person to perform daily living tasks), as well as devices that assist mobility, communication and personal safety.
- Aids and equipment: some aids and equipment that are directly associated with your care needs can be purchased using funds from your package budget.
Referral into the Home Care Packages Program
All recipients of Home Care Packages must be first assessed as eligible by an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS). People under 65 are often redirected to Disability Services for assessment before being assessed for Aged Care.
If in doubt about a client’s eligibility, it is recommended that you contact My Aged Care to discuss. Approximately a third of VincentCare's existing Home Care Packages clients are under 65 years of age and have risk factors associated with premature ageing, addiction, mental health conditions and social isolation.
Assessments take place in the client’s current accommodation and workers can attend the assessment and support the person to engage with ACAS.
For a person to be eligible for a Home Care Package, the person must be assessed as:
- Having needs that can only be met by a coordinated package of care services
- Someone who would be eligible to receive at least low level residential care (for Home Care Levels 1 or 2) or high level residential care (for Home Care Levels 3 or 4) if they applied for residential care
- Having expressed a preference to live at home (including as a resident of a retirement village)
- Being able to remain living at home with the support of a Home Care Package
The Australian Government is improving the way home care services are delivered to older Australians. From 27 February 2017, a new national system for prioritising access to home care has been established and is being managed through My Aged Care.
People who have been approved for a Home Care Package and have indicated they are actively seeking care will be placed onto the national queue. Approval for care will continue to depend on a comprehensive assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). A consumer’s place in the national queue will take into account their relative needs and circumstances as determined by the ACAT, and the date they were approved for care.
When a consumer reaches the top of the national queue they will be assigned a package from the national inventory. Consumers will receive a letter confirming that they have been assigned a package. This letter will include their unique referral code and the date that they must enter into a Home Care Agreement to prevent their package being withdrawn.
Once a consumer receives the confirmation letter they can then source a suitable package based on preferences and needs using the Home Care Package service finder on the My Aged Care website or by contacting the My Aged Care Contact Centre.
VincentCare Victoria can deliver packages in the Melbourne Metropolitan area and the Hume region.
A Home Care Package from VincentCare helped Janet improve her life and her confidence.
The Department of Health and Ageing also offers the following information online: