As an older Australian, when it comes time to access support through a Home Care Package so that you can continue living independently at home, you may feel a little apprehensive. It can be daunting to think that strangers will come into your home to provide support, and that’s once your HCP has been approved. So how do you know what to expect?

If being in control is important to you when it comes to aged care, the good news is that you can self-manage your own support needs if you want to. You can even use your Home Care Package funding to pay for your support workers, plus you can choose them yourself by signing up for an account on Mable.com.au. Mable is a website that connects people who are looking for support with independent support workers in their local area. You can search the profiles based on services needed, skills, location and even interests.

Applying for a Home Care Package

The first step in applying for a Home Care Package is to call the Federal Government’s My Aged Care office on 1800 200 422. You’ll be answered by a friendly operator who will ask you a few questions to determine your support needs.

If you have low care needs, you will likely be referred to a Regional Assessment Service which can connect you with a Commonwealth Home Support Program for entry-level support.

If your needs are more complex and/or you need ongoing care, you will be considered for a Home Care Package. In this case, you’ll be referred to the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) for a more comprehensive assessment.

Your ACAT assessment

The purpose of the ACAT assessment is to have a face-to-face meeting with you to determine the level of support you need. It might be decided that you would benefit from receiving a range of services to help you remain living independently in your home. Or it might be evident that you need respite care, transition care or perhaps, would be safer moving into a residential aged care home.

The Aged Care Assessment Team is made up of social workers, nurses and other health care professionals, one of whom will visit you in your home and you are welcome to have a family member, friend or carer present. You can even ask for a translator if you need one.

The ACAT assessment is how your needs are determined, so you receive the right level of Home Care Package.

What happens at the ACAT assessment?

There is nothing for you to be concerned about. The ACAT assessment is how your needs are determined so that you can receive the best care in line with your living situation, your health status and your goals.

You’ll be asked how you are managing on a day-to-day basis and the ACAT representative may need your permission to contact your doctor to discuss your medical history. They will discuss all your options with you such as whether you’d prefer to remain living in your home and the kinds of services that will be needed for that to continue. You’ll be told what to expect next, which will start with your ACAT representative going back to their team to determine the level of Home Care Package you should receive.

Once your Home Care Package is approved

If your Home Care Package has been approved, the My Aged Care team will send you a letter outlining which level you will receive. The reasons for the decision will be explained and you will receive a copy of the support plan that was discussed during your ACAT assessment.

Unfortunately, there is a long waitlist for Home Care Packages which means that even once you are approved, you may not receive any funding for between three and twelve months, depending on your level. You can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to find out what your expected wait time is or log in to your MyGov client record.

Lower-level packages tend to have a shorter wait time and you may be able to apply for an interim package which is a Home Care Package of a lower level than the one for which you’ve been approved.

What to do once you’ve been allocated a Home Care Package

Once your Home Care Package has been allocated, you’ll receive another letter. This letter will contain a unique referral code which you’ll need to provide to Homemade and we will manage your funding to provide you with the services you need.

From there, you can choose either a traditional provider who will send you support workers from their own agency or you can choose to ‘self-manage’ your Home Care Package with a provider such as Mable, as mentioned above. If you are comfortable with being in control yourself, there are a number of benefits:

  • You get to choose the services you receive and when you receive them.
  • You select your own independent support workers based on the services they provide, their personality and their interests. It’s comforting to always know who is coming into your home.
  • You can tailor the support you receive to your interests, goals and lifestyle.
  • You could receive up to double the hours with lower package management fees and lower hourly rates on platforms like Mable, compared to a traditional provider.

If you’d like to find out more about self-managing your support needs, call us on 1300 655 688. To find out more about Mable, you can visit the website at www.mable.com.au or call 1300 73 65 73.

Accessing support before your Home Care Package comes through

Knowing that there could be a long wait before your Home Care Package is allocated doesn’t mean you have to go without support. Until your funding comes through, you can still access affordable support through Mable and pay privately. With hourly rates via Mable averaging at around $35 to $40, it’s a solution that most find affordable and once your HCP becomes available, your money will go even further.

Search for independent support workers in your local area today on Mable.