Making the most of your Home Care package

Home Care Packages are designed to empower the users, giving you full control over the type of services and support you receive, which home care provider is best suited to your needs and the different fees you pay. This article provides a helpful guide to help you manage your home care package, allowing you to get the best support for your individual needs.


Making the most of your Home Care package

If you are reading this, you have probably been assessed as eligible for a Home Care Package. Congratulations! You may have already had the funds released to you (double congratulations!) or are waiting for them (be patient, it can take 12 months – or more). The important thing is to make the most of your package. The information in this piece is designed to help you make the most of your package.

If you have further questions or just want to talk things through, contact CareAbout. They can explain what everything means, what your options are, and help you find a care provider to meet your needs and budget!

The Home Care Package system empowers the users, giving them responsibility for their money. So you decide how to spend your Package.

You’re in control

The Home Care Package system empowers the users, giving them responsibility for their money. So you decide how to spend your package. You can probably think of some of the more obvious services that you need, such as:

  • personal care e.g. showering, toileting and assistance getting dressed
  • transport to shops, medical appointments and social activities
  • simple modifications to the home, including hand rails and ramps
  • nursing and physiotherapy
  • assistance taking medication
  • preparing and serving meals
  • household jobs such as cleaning, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, changing sheets, meal preparation and gardening
  • provision of mobility equipment such as walking frames
  • linking with local community groups and social activities
  • decluttering and packing services that can help you feel organised and safe in your home.

But you may not know that you have a lot of flexibility to choose the services that you want. Here are some services you may not have considered:

  • physiotherapy
  • counselling
  • speech therapy
  • companion pet
  • therapeutic bed mattress
  • internet access
  • computer equipment
  • cooking classes
  • meal delivery
  • yoga
  • massage

CareAbout can let you know what other services you can access with your package.

Understanding fees and charges

Fees vary greatly from one provider to another. Some providers take almost 50% of your government subsidy in administration and case management fees. That means less money for your care. So when you ‘shop around’, make sure you ask about the administration fee. You also need to ask about other fees. Home Care providers can sometimes ‘hide’ costs in case management and care fees.

Two fees are set by the government and cannot be altered by the home care provider. These are the Basic Daily Fee and the Income Tested Fee.

  • The basic daily fee is an amount added to your budget and boosts what you can spend on care and support. Different providers charge different basic daily fees, ranging from nil to $10.54 per day (the maximum amount is equal to between 17.5% of the full age pension). Some providers will waive this fee.
  • An income-tested care fee is payable if your income is above a certain amount. Your income-tested care fee is assessed by Centrelink and increases the higher your income is. The government subsidy for your package is reduced by the same amount as your income-tested care fee.

However, providers also have the option of charging other fees, and they determine the amount. These are:

  • Care fee: the hourly cost for personal care, which varies depending on the type of care required.
  • Administration fee: a charge for administering your care plan, including rostering, co-ordination and financial management.
  • Care management fee: includes costs of home visits for assessments and reviews and care plan development.
  • Exit fee: may be payable if you leave the provider.

The best way to ensure you do not get caught is to contact CareAbout, who will help you work out what your needs are, get a clear list of your preferences, and match you with one of their low-fee care partners. There’s no obligation to choose the partner and it’s exactly the same price if you do all of the work yourself.

For more information on fees, read our article on Home Care Package fees.

5 Top Tips

Here are five things to consider before signing with a care provider:

  1. Do your research. Do not sign with the first provider you speak to. Shop around and compare fees and services. Or contact CareAbout who can do the research for you.
  2. Make a list of the basic services you need and make sure they can all be delivered by the providers you speak to.
  3. Make a list of services that will make your life easier, even though they might not be essential, and check if the providers offer all/some of them.
  4. Find out exactly what the fees will be – ask about the care fee, administration fee, case management fee and exit fee.
  5. A good care provider will ask about your needs as much (if not more) as they talk about what they have to offer. If they are not client-focussed when they’re trying to win your business, they’ll be less inclined when you sign on the dotted line.

CareAbout can help

If you want help in making the most of your Home Care Package, contact CareAbout. We can help you locate and importantly choose the Home Care services and packages that are right for you.