Mar 2019 4 Minutes
Home Care options are not meeting demand
At the moment, aged care is a key policy issue for both the Government and providers. There are many details required in applying and getting approved for home care packages. The latest statistics from the Government show demand continues to exceed supply, so Home Care may not be an option for (or be accessed) by everyone.
Although the Government has released more Home Care packages, there are still over 69,000 people waiting for a package, and another 63,000 waiting to get on the correct package for their current needs.
For those who are unfamiliar with what Home Care is, it is a Government funded program that supports eligible individuals to receive care in their home. However, before a person can access Home Care, they need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) to determine if they are entitled to receive care. Those who are entitled are also allocated a level of care, based upon their needs.
What services can you get with Home Care?
The range of services provided by Home Care is determined by the level allocated to an individual. The summary below shows the services that each package may provide and is dependent upon the individual's needs (and this list is not fully comprehensive).
What does Home Care cost?
Home Care recipients are liable to pay a basic daily fee and could be asked to pay an income-tested fee. But unlike residential care, there are no accommodation deposits to pay. The basic daily fee is currently $10.43 per day. The income-tested fee is based upon a person's income and subject to a formula. However, the maximum income tested fee is currently $10,892. The income-tested fee is a contribution towards the cost of care.
Availability of Home Care Packages
As mentioned earlier, 69,086 people have not been assigned a Home Care package, while another 63,280 people have been assigned a package below their current needs. Availability of a Home Care package is generally based upon an individual's geographic location.
The below data (shown in table two) is the availability of packages per state, based upon the various levels.
What is the waiting time?
With so many people waiting for Home Care packages, it is no surprise that there is often a waiting list to access a package. Table three provides the estimated maximum wait time for those entering the queue.
What does the Government subsidise?
The Government subsidises Home Care packages, however the amount of subsidy that a person receives is based upon their level of care and their income-tested fee amount.
A level one Home Care package costs the Australian Government up to $8,271 per year, whilst a level four package can cost is up to $50,286 per year. Table four (below) is a summary of the yearly amounts paid by the Government.
Since 2015, all Home Care packages have been carried out on a Consumer Directed Care basis. This means that consumers can decide the types of services that they receive, and how they are delivered. Then in February 2017, the sector underwent further improvement where packages are provided directly to consumers, meaning people can decide who will deliver their Home Care services, based upon their own needs and circumstances.
Waiting time to access Home Care is one of the driving reasons for people moving into residential care. The Home Care Packages Program data report shows we need more Home Care places to be released to meet demand. When a person is assessed as requiring care, they need it now, not in three, six or twelve months.
And although the Government is providing more money to release additional packages, it appears that many people are failing to receive the care they need. So with an ageing population, it will only get harder to access a Home Care package as demand continues to increase.
For more information and locating Home Care services in your local area, visit www.myagedcare.gov.au and go to the 'find a service tool'.