Home Care Package program provides eligible older Australians an opportunity to receive affordable care and support services while staying at home rather than going to an aged care facility.
The Home Care Package program or the HCP is a commonwealth government subsidised program designed to support older people with complex needs to help them stay at home offering a choice and flexibility in the way those services are provided.
- A home care package is a commonwealth government subsidised program to support older Australians
- There are four HCP levels, ranging from level 1 for basic care needs to level 4 for high-level care needs
- An average wait period to start receiving the HCP benefits could range anywhere between 10 months to a year
Mr Charan Walia who works as a general manager at My Holistic Care, a Melbourne-based home care service provider, told SBS Punjabi that any Australian could apply for the HCP as long as they match the eligibility criteria.
“If you are retired and receive a pension, and your age is 65 years or above, then you can apply for the government support," he said.
“As a first step, you’ll need to contact ‘My Aged Care’ who will perform a telephone screening and will refer you to the ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team).”
ACAT is a team of nursing or allied health professionals who assess the applicant’s eligibility for home care packages and residential care. This allows them to understand the person’s needs and recommend what type of services would be best suited to support them.
Mr Walia said that there are four HCP levels, ranging from level 1 for basic care needs to level 4 for high-level care needs.
“The assessors also take into account the personal preferences and informal care levels, such as care by family members, friends or even neighbours who help with shopping, cleaning and other tasks," he said.
“At the end of the assessment, the ACAT member advises the level of home care package you will most likely be approved for.”
Mr Walia further explained that the total amount of an HCP is made up of:
- the Australian Government contribution (the subsidy), and
- user contribution (the fees you may be asked to pay).
You are eligible for HCP, now what's next?
There are a fixed number of home care packages available. This means a person may be assessed as needing a package but must wait in a national queue, managed by My Aged Care until a package is allocated.
An average wait period to start receiving the HCP benefits could range anywhere between ten months to a year.
While waiting for an HCP, a person can receive entry-level support through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or may have the option to take up a lower level interim package if one is available.
The latest official data shows that until September 2020 a total number of 162,973 people had access to an HCP while 62,395 people who were seeking an HCP at their approved level, had not yet been offered an HCP.
If you find that you are not eligible and want more information, you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to discuss your situation or visit https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/help-at-home/home-care-packages
Click on the audio icon to listen to the full interviews with Mr Charan Walia.