For many, the mere thought of considering how they, or a loved one, should determine what care they may need, how it should be delivered, what it will cost and what it means for the management of their legacy, can be daunting.

APC has asked My Care Path director, Jayne Maini (formally Millennium Aged Care Services) to continue our Aged Care Series to share some valuable information in this important area of health care for older Australians.

APC has been working with Jayne and her team for many years.  We like the fact that the My Care Path team are ex-nurses who show a great deal of empathy and are completely independent.

If you, or a loved one, are seeking some more information, please contact APC to discuss our Aged Care Client Service which is specifically tailored to aged care advice and is exclusively included as part of our Private Client Service.

Aged Care Assessments & In Home Care

‘Aged Care World’ is undergoing extensive scrutiny and analysis at the moment. There is no doubt that there are flaws in the system however understanding how it all works can help Australian seniors and their families to make the best choice around care and services to look at for support.

When I talk about Aged Care I refer to any services that assist the elderly.

These services are predominantly funded by the Federal Government (Department of Human Services). Private services are also available but that will be a topic for another day.

My Aged Care is the government portal for all things related to care for Australian seniors. Any-one can contact My Aged Care to either ask a question or refer someone they are concerned about. There is a general phone number 1800 200 422 or contact can be made via the My Aged Care website.

Initially a number of questions will be asked regarding the person who needs care. These questions are designed to help determine the level care or service that is required. Lower levels of service (eg; home cleaning, gardening, shopping assistance) will be referred to the Regional Assessment Service (RAS), higher levels of service or care (personal care, medication management, more complex care supports requiring more hours of care) will be referred to the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS). Both of these assessment services look at each person’s individual circumstances and recommend a level of care or service that will meet the care needs. They are funded by the Government and are free to the consumer.

The Assessment

Once the referral is received by the appropriate team, contact will be made with the care recipient or their representative to book a time for the assessment. The care recipient must agree for this assessment to go ahead. Normally an assessor comes to the home to get a picture of what the current living situation is and to determine if there are any modifications that need to be made to the home (eg; shower rails in the bathroom). It is also a great way to see the person in their own environment. Currently – due to COVID 19 – assessments are being done over the phone via either a phone call, facetime or another face to face tool. We always recommend that a family member also be in attendance at the meeting. Two sets of ears are better than one. Many older people will also deny they need assistance, particularly those with some short term memory loss or cognitive impairment.

It is important to note that this assessment is not a test. It is a way of determining what services can be provided to assist people to get the most appropriate care for their needs. Many older people become very anxious about this assessment. There is no need to be concerned. The assessment is a guide to care needs. The analogy we use for the resulting approval is that is works like a passport – you may never need it however if you do want go over seas you cannot go anywhere without it. How the assessment approval is utilised is entirely up to the person. There is always a choice to access services or refuse them.

RAS (Regional Assessment Service) CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Package)

This assessment gives eligibility to basic in home care services. Currently these services are provided by local City Council’s but the system has been reviewed and over the next 12 months this will change. Independent service providers will take over from Councils. It is expected that the CHPS will be phased out and replaced by Level 1 In Home Care Packages.

ACAS (Aged Care Assessment Service) Level 1, 2, 3 & 4 Packages

The ACAS Assessment gives approval for a broad range of services. These include In Home Care Packages, Residential Respite and Permanent Residential Aged Care.

One of the differences between the CHSP and the Levels of In Home Care Package is the funding model. With In Home Care Packages the Department of Human Services allocates funds to the package recipient. The recipient then has the choice of which provider they wish to engage and what services they would like to utilise to assist them.

The Level of package is determined by the level of supports a person requires. Lower care recipients, Level 1 & Level 2, receive approximately $8,800 and $15,500 per annum respectively to spend on care services. Level 3 & Level 4 recipients receive approximately $33,700 and $51,100 respectively per annum to spend on care services. Care recipients may need to financially contribute to the package they receive. This depends on an income assessment that is submitted to Centrelink. Not everyone will need to contribute. The package funding must be held by an accredited Home Care provider so it is important to compare providers to determine the one that can provide the best value for money and the most appropriate services.

While these sums look be generous there are administration fees and service charges that can be incurred resulting in a lower amount to spend. However, on average a Level 4 package should cover 15 – 17 hours of care per week averaged out over 12 months.

There are number of things to consider when choosing a Home Care provider. They are not all the same. My Care Path has a service that can assist families and their loved ones to choose the best option for their situation. Fee comparison, consistency of care and reputation re all taken into consideration when we look at options for our clients.

Explaining how the system works for each family is important. No one size fits all and My Care Path are very experienced at supporting families with their decisions. The complexity of the system raises many questions. Families are welcome to contact us if they need assistance to understand how it all applies to them.

An aged care consultant can provide the following services:

  • An initial assessment of your aged care needs
  • Help with referrals to My Aged Care
  • Recommendations on the type of care that is suitable for you, such as home care or an aged care facility
  • Provide a short list of recommended facilities and home care providers within your area
  • Organise and manage tours/interviews of the short-listed facilities or home care providers
  • Explain the different costs and fees, as well as negotiate fees with an aged care provider on your behalf
  • Advocate for your care and help to change/move facilities if you are not satisfied with the aged care service provided

How can I contact an aged care consultant?

My Care Path contact details are as follows;

Ph; 1300 755 702

e-mail; [email protected]

website; www.myagedcare.com.au

Where else can I research my aged care options?

You can use an online aged care directory, such as Aged Care Online to search for aged care care providers and facilities in your area.

Aged Care Online allows you to search for facilities in your area as well the specific care you need, whether it be home care, residential care or retirement living.