What can Home Care Package funds be used for?

Every day we get asked ‘What can Home Care Package funds be used for?’ It’s a valid and important question so let’s start by taking a look at the intent of the Home Care Package Program.

The Home Care Package Program provides coordinated care and services that help senior Australians meet their assessed care needs to continue to live independently in their home for as long as it is safe.

Expenditure must be within the limits of both the budget and the scope of the Program. It must relate to aging and not be an expense that all Australian’s have.

Home Care Package Inclusions

Ready to explore what Home Care Package funds can be used for? Click on each category below for more detailed information.

+ Bathing, showering, personal hygiene and grooming, assistance with cutting fingernails or with washing/drying hair.

+ Toenail-cutting services delivered through a podiatrist.

+ Dressing and undressing, and using dressing aids.

+ Toileting.

+ Assessment for and, if required, providing disposable pads and absorbent aids, commode chairs, bedpans and urinals, catheter and urinary drainage appliances and enemas.

+ Assistance in using continence aids and appliances and managing continence.

+ Assessment by a Continence Nurse.

+ Some carpet cleaning in the case of severe incontinence.

+ Toilet raiser seat, toilet surround with supporting recommendation.

+ Washing machine and dryers can be considered ONLY for severe and permanent incontinence, as per the definition used by the Continence Aids Payment Scheme. Supporting documentation is required.

+ Respite care delivered in the home.

+ Assistance to access support services to maintain personal affairs.

+ Emotional support including ongoing support in adjusting to a lifestyle involving increased dependency and assistance for the care recipient and carer, if appropriate.

+ Providing 24‐hour on‐call access to emergency assistance including access to an emergency call system if the care recipient is assessed as requiring it.

+ IT training in using a computer or mobile phone.

+ Communication including assistance to address difficulties arising from impaired hearing, sight or speech, or lack of common language, assistance with the fitting of sensory communication aids, checking hearing aid batteries, cleaning spectacles and assistance in using the telephone.

+ Encouragement to participate in social and community activities that promote and protect the care recipient’s lifestyle, interests and wellbeing. Activity must be linked to aging i.e. attending Men’s Shed, Senior Citizen membership, day programs. Note supplies to participate in the group activities are not allowable.

+ Support for care recipients with cognitive impairment, including individual therapy, activities and access to specific programs designed to prevent or manage a particular condition or behaviour, enhance quality of life and provide ongoing support.

+ Setting up the connection of phone or internet ONLY is allowable, not ongoing costs.

+ Nursing, allied health and therapy services:

Gap payments for Allied Health services on private health insurance are NOT claimable through the package. Allied health services must be related to age related functional decline, rather than chronic illness and providers must meet their respective accreditation and registration requirements and operate within the scope of practice of their particular regulated or self-regulated body.

Services include:

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Worker
  • Dietitian or Nutritionist
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Audiology
  • Chiropractic
  • Diversional therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Optometry
  • Orthoptics
  • Orthotists/prosthetists
  • Osteopathy
  • Rehabilitation counselling
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Speech Pathology

+ Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture therapy can be included if supported by a recommended by a suitably qualified medical professional (e.g. a GP) and delivered by an Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) registered Chinese medicine practitioner.

+ Psychology visits are payable AFTER Medicare funded visits through a Mental Health Care Plan have been exhausted. Any GP can refer you to the Mental Health Care Plan program.

+ Nursing: wound care management, medication administration, general health and other assessments.

+ General Health and other assessments.

+ Other clinical services such as hearing and vision services.

+ Access, referral to other health and related services, or health practitioners.

+ Providing bandages, dressings, and skin emollients.

+ Medication management.

+ Pill dispensers, pill lock boxes and Webster packs.

+ Rehabilitative support, access help; to meet a professionally determined therapeutic need.

+ Blood pressure monitor (with GP supporting recommendation).

+ CPAP/BIPAP – CPAP machines are typically funded under state and territory specialised aids and equipment schemes.  The care recipient’s treating medical practitioner is responsible to support them to access these schemes. However, in some jurisdictions, CPAP machines are not subsidised, or are only subsidised in specific circumstances. As the Australian Government does not fund, or partially fund, access to CPAP machines, the provider can consider funding this service, but only after they have tested and confirmed whether state/territory schemes can cover the cost.

+ Remedial Massage for an age-related condition must be delivered by a suitably qualified professional, e.g., physio, remedial massage, osteo or massage therapist.

+ Natural therapies, including:

  • Pilates (only when sessions are supervised by an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist)
  • Tai chi (only when sessions are supervised by a Chinese Medicine Practitioner, exercise physiologist or physiotherapist)
  • Yoga (only when sessions are supervised by an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist)

+ Consultation/tests/surgery with medical practitioners (GPs and specialists) for a private appointment (i.e. not covered by MBS) with a GP to meet evidence requirements for the dementia and cognition supplement and oxygen and enteral feeding supplements.

+ Wound care management, including nursing services.

+ Pressure relieving cushion and mattress.

+ Skin creams, body wash and ointments for the management of age-related skin integrity, which is defined as assistance to maintain clean and intact skin. This includes providing bandages, dressings, and skin emollients that are prescribed by relevant health professionals or medical practitioners. Skin emollients include lotions and oils, such as Alpha Keri Bath Lotion, QV Bath Oil and Hamilton Skin Therapy Oil.

+ Adult wipes (not baby wipes).

+ Rinse-free foam such as Remedy Phytoplex (by Medline),  rinse free cleanser (comes in a spray – for hair, and a foam – for body).

+ Providing crutches, quadruped walkers, walking frames, walking sticks and wheelchairs (items must be suitable, safe and a recommended item). You can read more on assistive technology and equipment purchases here.

+ Providing mechanical devices for lifting, bed rails, slide sheets, slide boards, sheepskins, tri-pillows, and pressure relieving mattresses.

+ Mobility, transfer (including in and out of bed) e.g. hoist.

+ Ramps (fixed and portable) and grab rails.

+ Crash and sensor mats, walking belts, hip protectors.

+ Car transfer aid/ handy bar.

+ Small aids to assist in activities of daily living, such as jar openers, long handed sponges, dressing aids.

+ Assistance in using the above aids.

+ Falls Assessment administered by a Registered Nurse.

+ Hydrotherapy or exercise classes delivered by an Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist.

+ Custom made or medical grade shoes, supported by Podiatrist recommendation.

+ Transport and personal assistance with shopping, visit health practitioners, emotional support, social support and attending social activities.

+ Cabcharge (not rideshare services such as Uber) can be used for accessing local aged care transport needs: medical appointments, age related social activities, religious activities, shopping.

+ Private Transport costs for KMs, may be allowable in extenuating circumstances, such as living in a remote area (MMMs 4-7), with no other transport options available. To be discussed with your Care Advisor and a budget set.

Specialised and complex equipment that is generally adjusted to suit the care recipient’s individual support needs requires a recommendation from an appropriate health professional. It is important to make sure the equipment is supplied and set up correctly to avoid any risk of injury.

Self-diagnosed or non-evidence-based items are not allowable.

The cost of the assessment can be included in the package. Not everything recommended by the Occupational Therapist (OT) is an allowable HCP expenditure item.

An OT can identify strengths and difficulties and will help the client work out practical solutions to develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.This may include modifying an activity or an environment, recommendation, customisation and oversight of equipment provision. They use a range of specific therapeutic procedures to enhance performance such as wound care management, techniques to enhance sensory, perceptual, and cognitive processing, and manual therapy technique skills.

We refer to the Enable NSW Professional Criteria for Prescribers for guidance on who can prescribe different types of equipment.

A GP is not qualified to recommend equipment.


+ Falls alarm or falls detection watch is allowable (premium product at owners’ expense).

+ An adjustable bed, electronically operated, bed with position adjustments to the backrest and leg rest area, and adjustable height. Single beds (including king single beds) are considered to be most appropriate as they allow for ease of access for attending health providers and carers, particularly nurses.

+ A pressure relieving or hospital grade mattress.

+ A companion bed refers to a non-adjustable detachable bed for partners, designed to be paired with an adjustable bed. The cost of a companion bed is considered a private expense.

+ Shower stool/ wheeled commode.

+ Handheld shower hose.

+ Sit to stand/ recliner chairs.

+ Over chair/bed table.

+ Large print clocks, microwaves.

+ Hearing aids – Only if the care recipient is not a pension concession card holder. A Home Care Package may cover (like for like) a typical hearing aid covered by Hearing Service Program (HSP). In all other cases hearing aids are an exclusion.

Click here to find out more about equipment approval timeframes.

+ Assistance with preparing meals including assistance with special diet for health, religious, cultural or other reasons.

+ Assistance with using eating utensils and eating aids and assistance with actual feeding.

+ Providing enteral feeding formula and equipment.

+ Nutritional supplements and fluid thickeners as prescribed by a Dietitian or Speech Therapist. READ MORE INFORMATION HERE >

+ Consultation with a Speech Therapist, Dietitian or Diabetes Nurse.

+ Meals – only meal preparation, packaging, and delivery are allowed (the ingredients are not allowable) at a rate of 70% of the full cost. Must be a ready-made nutritionally balanced meal for one ordered through a meal delivery company, not purchased from a Supermarket, takeaway, restaurant or food delivery services e.g., UberEATS. Limited to 7 of each of breakfast /lunch / dinners per week.

Home maintenance, reasonably required to maintain the home and garden in a condition of functional safety and provide an adequate level of security, such as cleaning gutters.

+ Cleaning, making beds, dusting, oven or window cleaning, vacuuming and mopping.

+ Personal laundry services, including laundering of care recipient’s clothing and bedding that can be machine-washed, ironing or arranging for dry-cleaning of care recipient’s clothing and bedding that cannot be machine-washed.

+ Light gardening such as:

  • maintaining access and egress pathways through a property
  • lawn mowing
  • weeding of established garden beds
  • yard clearance where there are issues of safety and access
  • essential pruning for access areas

+ Minor home modification – if clinically justified, to improve safety and accessibility and promote independence. Minor home modifications could include:

  • lowering or removal of shower hobs
  • lowering kitchen bench tops
  • widening doorways and passages (e.g. to allow wheelchair access)
  • hand-held showers, sliding shower rails
  • removal of shower screens/doors – installation of weighted shower curtains
  • doorway wedges

+ Minor home maintenance – maintenance activities that the care recipient previously did for themselves but can no longer do safely, for example:

  • cleaning gutters
  • changing light globes
  • changing batteries in smoke alarms
  • fixing a broken door
  • working-at-height related repairs or cleaning for client health and safety i.e. gutters, roofs, windows, ceilings, smoke alarms

+ Minor plumbing includes changing a washer, unblocking a toilet, installing easy access taps, shower hoses or shower heads on a rail.

+ Relocating power points, if directedly related to aging.

+ Some carpet/ flooring replacements for functional safety may be allowable, discuss with your Care Advisor.

+ Assisting the care recipient, and the homeowner if the homeowner is not the care recipient, to access technical advice on major home modifications.

+ Assistance from support worker to organise belongings, including packing for a move.

+ Advising the care recipient on areas of concern in their home that pose safety risks and ways to mitigate the risks.

+ Remediation of hoarding, providing one-off decluttering/cleaning where it is required to ensure the safety of the care recipient and the home care worker entering the home.

+ Service / Assistance Dog – A Home Care Package can assist with funding towards the ongoing cost of a Service/Assistance Dog (including a Guide Dog). The definition of assistance dog can be found at:  www.healthdirect.gov.au/assistance-dogs. These costs include pet food, vet bills and essential grooming. If the client is walking their dog themselves, a support worker may accompany.

Still have questions about allowable expenditure?

Get the most out of your Home Care Package

Understanding what Home Care Package funds can be used for is crucial for getting the most out of your allocated resources. You’ll likely be surprised by just how much support you have access to! By familiarising yourself with the range of available services, you can tailor your care plan to meet your specific needs and preferences.

Ready to pay less in fees and get more services? Let's chat.
image showing elderly couple reviewing what can home care package funds be used for