Home Care

Government home care package programs

Home Care Package Program – Agedcare

The Home Care Package Program defines a package with an amount of money per day to support independent living with a significant financial contribution from the Australian government. This payment is called a subsidy and is paid directly to us to administer on your behalf. Your level of home care need determines the amount of your subsidy. Levels of Care are explained under the Home Care – Care and Services section of this website.

The amount of subsidy for each level of care is determined by the Department of Social Services. Changes in subsidy amounts will usually happen each year in July, but may happen at other times in the year. If a change in your subsidy is made, you will be told about the change and we will work with you to make any needed changes in your care plan and budget.

Local Guardians have a management fee, paid by the Home Care Package Program, you will find relatively inexpensive, as our Care Managers directly receive this fee and are not burdened by the normal administration charges of organisations or franchisees.

Home Care Package Program Fees

While most of your care will be paid for with your subsidy, you will also need to contribute. Under the Aged Care Act, you are required to pay up to 17.5% of the single basic Age Pension. This fee helps cover the cost of delivering services, such as staffing or equipment costs. The amount of the fee will increase 20 March and 20 September, when your Age Pension amount increases. You will be told of any increases in the fee and your budget will be updated.

You may also be responsible for an income-tested care fee if your income is over a certain amount. The Government determines if you need to pay the income-tested fee and, if so, how much you must pay. The amount of the income-tested fee is not determined based on the value of your home or other assets. There are annual and lifetime caps that apply to the income-tested care fee. Once these caps are reached, you cannot be asked to pay any more income-tested care fees.

We will tell you how much you are required to pay in fees. This information will be included in the Home Care Agreement, in your individualised budget, and accounted for in your monthly statements.

Care fees are payable by direct debit from an account. If you wish to pay using a different way, we will negotiate this with you. A fee may apply.

If you believe you cannot afford to pay these fees, you may be able to receive financial hardship assistance. Financial hardship assistance helps you when you have difficulty paying fees and charges for your package. If you qualify for hardship assistance, your fees and charges may be reduced or waived. The Government will pay some or all of your fees and charges on your behalf.

For more information about the subsidy, your fees and hardship assistance, you can call the Australian Government Department of Social Services on 1800 200 422 or visit http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/

Individualised Budget

An individualised budget is a budget created just for you. NDIS call this a “Plan”. It shows the money available to pay for your care and services and the costs of the care and services you will receive. The budget is created as part of the care planning process.
The budget will clearly identify the total funds available to pay for your care and services (package income), including:

  • the full amount of the government subsidy
  • the fees you pay; and
  • any funds that may be carried over from prior periods.

The costs estimated for the services you plan to receive are listed in the budget as the allowable expenditure items expended within the package.

Your budget may also include a small contingency, kind of like a rainy day fund, in case you unexpectedly need more or different services. The total amount of the contingency is limited to 10% of your package income and will be included in your budget as contingency funds.

Statements

You will receive a monthly income and expenditure statement from us that will show you what funds were spent on your care, as well as any remaining available funds. We will work with you to determine the best way to provide you with these statements. They are available anytime electronically on our website or can be emailed or mailed to you for a small fee.

Local Guardians pushes the  Consumer Directed Care (CDC) model to its limits, empowering you, the client, in control of choice and decision making about your homecare needs, and the management there of. This means that:

  • Each month we will provide you with a statement that shows funds available for the month, what services were paid for out of your funds and any unspent funds. This will help you manage your budget and care overtime.

You can also recruit your own independent care manager who can take care of management items such as:

  • The amount of control you wish to have over the services you receive, who provides the services and when services are provided.
  • Supporting you with all the information you need to make independent decisions about your services and service providers;
  • Help establish goals and ways to achieve these goals, including living in your home as independently as possible;
  • Develop the budget with you that shows: all funds you have available to pay for your care and services, what services are paid for and the cost. This helps you decide what services you wish to buy and what care you may want to receive from family or friends.

Eligibility and Levels of Care

The Home Care Packages Programme is a government programme to help older Australians stay in their homes. The Programme provides funding that can be used to pay for home care services and supports based on your needs. This is called a “Package.”

To get started you must be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAS) and approved to receive a package.

The assessment looks at how you are doing and what help you might need to live independently in your home and community. The ACAS also look at your medical information from your doctor or other health care providers. Using this information the ACAS decides the level of care you require.

There are four Levels of Care:

  • Home Care Level 1 – Basic care needs
  • Home Care Level 2 – Low care needs
  • Home Care Level 3 – Intermediate care needs
  • Home Care Level 4 – High care needs

The ACAS approval will specify that you require a low level of home care (Home Care Levels 1 or 2) or a high level of home care (Home Care Levels 3 or 4).

We will work with you to determine your exact Level of Care.

Your level of care is important and determines the amount of financial help you receive from the government to cover the cost of your care and services. This information is vital in creating your personalised home care plan.

For more information about the Home Care Packages Programme you can call the Australian Government Department of Social Services on 1800 200 422 or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au

Home Care Package Services

There is a common list of care and services that can be paid for under the package. Whether you are Level 1 or Level 4, you can choose from the same list of services. The difference between levels is the amount of care and services you can receive within your budget. For example, those in Level 4 have more needs than those in Level 1, so they have a bigger budget and obtain more services. However, the most important thing is not how many services you get. It is making sure you get the right kinds of services. There is a great deal of flexibility in the program. Practically anything that supports the goal of keeping you at home and is not an “Excluded Service” under the Programme Guidelines, is available to you. The care and support services that can be financed by a Home Care Package are set out in the following tables:

Aids and Equipment

Providing medical aids and equipment is not the purpose of a package. However, in some cases, your home care funds can be used to buy or lease medical aids and equipment.

If you need an aid or equipment, including custom aids, these can be provided to you as part of your package if it is included in your care plan and it can be provided within the limits of the funds available for your package. Given the high cost of motorised wheelchairs and scooters, we recommend that such items be hired or leased rather than purchased.

Other Services

Social support systems are very important to mental and emotional well-being. Whenever possible, our caregivers will work with you to arrange social activities that you choose. Your caregiver can also provide transport and assistance during the social activity, if needed. If you require transportation, only authorised caregivers in a fully insured car will transport you in a private vehicle. If you wish transport in a taxi, we will set you up with a Cabcharge card, all trips will immediately appear in your online statement, including time pickup location and destination.

All our caregivers will strive to help you enhance your quality of life, as well as provide ongoing support for your emotional well-being. We also provide 24-hour emergency on call access, respite care, and assistance with access to legal or financial advisors to maintain your personal affairs. In some cases, you may be eligible for additional government assistance to pay for some of the cost of these services. We will discuss these services with you during the care planning process.

In some cases you may need services that we cannot provide but are a part of your care plan. For example, if your home needs major changes to make it easier and safer for you to get around. In such cases, we will use outside contractors to ensure that these needs are met. Even in these cases, we are responsible for service quality and meeting all legal responsibilities.

We are different!

Our innovative model maximises the funding to individuals for care, with prices below half that of any other home care provider in Australia and generally doubling care hours comparing to traditional providers.

With over a decade of experience supporting tens of thousands of aged care clients, Local Guardian’s deploy best practice technology to offer homecare packages a low 6% administration charge (of package value) to oversee the care, quality systems (safeguarding) and finance.

Case management including provider selection and scheduling, can be self-managed, or outsourced to a provider of client’s choice or completed by Local Guardians as required on an hourly basis or 12% fee. Full Case Management would equal 18%, compared to full self-management of 6%.

Other unique innovations include: free cab charge cards, real time statements via smart phone access; our own debit cards, allowing more flexibility in spending; and thousands of existing providers to search.

Home Care Benefits

  • “Family portal” access
  • Keep profile and contact details up-to-date
  • View budget and actual expenditures online 24/7
  • View calendar, carers and their notes, 24/7
  • Relevant documents and key contacts available
  • Take over care management to maximise care plan budget