Is confusion limiting access to home-care options?

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Older Australians want to stay at home as long as possible and home-care is an increasingly popular option, but many are confused by the Government’s latest changes.

Earlier this year, the Government shifted control of home-care packages away from approved providers and back to individual consumers.

The change means that consumers can choose a provider to ensure they receive the services they require, delivered by a means that suits them best. Consumers now advise the Government how they wish the funds to be distributed.

The changes, coupled with the recent scandals rocking the retirement village sector, were expected to increase the number of elderly Australians seeking home-care options.

Bram Baker, owner of Gold Coast home-care operator Just Better Care, told YourLifeChoices that there was still a lack of clarity around what to do to access home-care options.

“There is a lot of confusion,” Mr Baker said. “The rollout of the CDC (consumer-directed care packages) is not as smooth sailing as the Government would have liked. People wanting some services in the aged care area are just a bit confused and (the change has) left them not knowing which way to turn.”

Mr Baker said that some of the difficulties in the area stem from the reliance on sending consumers to the MyAgedCare web site.

He explained that many people requiring home care services did not have regular access to the internet, and preferred to talk to somebody to discuss their options.

“A lot of people in this age group don’t necessarily use the web a lot,” he said. “They want to talk to somebody, they want a phone call.

“While it is good to have the web site there, I just think a lot of people in this age group want to talk to somebody and discuss their needs and I don’t think that provision of case management has been allowed for by Government.”

The other confusing issue is the two sets of government funding available for home-care – CDC and the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).

CHSP provides entry-level home help and requires a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) visit to allocate funding, while the more flexible CDC packages require an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) to review the situation.

“Sometimes you might get an RAS person to come out and assess you for a CHSP and they might turn around and say you need a CDC package, so then you have got to get an ACAT assessment out and that could take another period of time before somebody can come out and do that,” Mr Baker explained. “That process can be quite convoluted.”

Mr Baker said home-care providers were able to help organise the correct assessments.

Just Better Care Gold Coast is seeking stories from individuals or their loved ones who are facing challenging circumstances and are looking for the opportunity to increase their independence.

Two prizes of one year’s worth on in-home support for up to five hours per week will be awarded to competition winners.

To enter, visit

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 14
  1. 0

    Thank you for this article.
    The website is an excellent starting point. It is so often family and friends who need to begin this journey for a person dear to them. So while they may not have website skills the family do. The trick is finding the government site.
    So thank you indeed.

  2. 0

    And we need everyone to stay at home as long as they can, given the rortingand ripoffs in retirement and aged care systems.

    • 0

      It is a shame because retirement homes can offer a wonder source of companionship and activities.

    • 0

      Have to agree with Rosret.
      Retirement residences can certainly offer a wonderful source of companionship and activities.

      My wife and I happen to enjoy these privileges AND one should be clear that the Government assistance offered to allow people to remain in their homes most certainly DOES NOT PRECLUDE people living in Retirement Residences.
      My wife and I are presently being considered for assistance.

    • 0

      I agree Rosret but with the caveat that most retirement homes can offer a wonderful source of companionship and activities. It’s the small minority that are the ones we read about and catch all the headlines that are the problem.

  3. 0

    I have relatives under pressure to sell their home. Couples who own their home and only survive on the age pension are under threat, as soon as one has to go into special care.

    Firstly they become separated and the big bills start pouring in, so for them to be together they have to both go into a care facility and do some special deal with the establishment where they sell their house for “peanuts”

    It all happens so quickly people don’t see it coming.

  4. 0

    Changes to the aged care system have seen a big growth in providers of care, which will probably include the rorters as in the pink batts and the education system. I am a carer for my wife and she was approved for home care in December 2016, but is still waiting for funds to be made available to a provider. So she continues to be on the waiting list for actual physical assistance. I am amused to see all of the ads for people to apply for assistance, when there is already a massive waiting list.

    • 0

      And how is anyone to know whether one provider is better than another. Throwing a dart, I suppose.

    • 0

      Jennome, I suspect if you are well off it would make a big difference. You get what you pay for but whether that actually applies in this instance I am unsure.
      A friend had her mother in a good one in Melbourne where her breakfast was taken to her room which they could choose.
      When she died at age 90 the staff were very supportive of the family and showed genuine grief at her passing.
      There may be a few around like that hopefully.

  5. 0

    These are very informative tips for staying at home for a long time.

  6. 0

    Interesting article but not surprising. I am a social worker in public hospital working in Aged Care. There is no doubt in my mind and from my experience that the reforms in Aged Care have placed many older people in precarious positions where they feel pressured and doomed to ‘fail’. Nobody has in their life script a plan to leave their homes. It would be unusual in most cases. And I have certainly not met too many who have happily moved into care.
    Many find themselves ‘abandoned’ when they’re unable to access services to remain at home. There is an extraordinary long waiting list for care packages. I have yet to meet an older person who has been able to help him/herself on the My Aged Care [MAC]site and ‘direct’ their own care. Consequently, that already excludes the potential consumer.
    Families where there are younger people who can assist with the process find it also challenging. I know that as they come to social workers asking for help or complain.
    So my question has always been: for who exactly did the designers of this MAC have in mind? Not for our current generation of older people. As many of us know the Baby Boomers have been flagged for fleecing as they are seen to be the ones who hold the key to unleash the purse strings. They’re being blamed for the housing crisis – don’t forget and spending inheritance. [ and we do see in hospital significant incidents of financial abuse and other]
    As we all know, and my experience as a health professional I have witnessed the swift and abundant increased ‘new’ providers in aged care. We do not have to wonder why. It has become the fastest and richest industry where ‘ profit -before- people’ matters.
    Don’t get me wrong; there are certainly older people who have been successful in engaging with providers and having their care needs met. They are usually the older person whose had family or other assistance to navigate the system; and having the financial means also helps.
    Now where I am sitting in all of this I have seen far too many older people having to move into residential care prematurely. This often is owing to long waiting lists for a home care package. And this is where I am sceptical about the claims that are made people can stay in their home for as long as they like. But they cannot do that if there are insufficient packages and having to wait up to 12months at one stage for assistance. That is tokenism.

    And what about those who are concessional? Aged Care facilities has to dedicate ?40% of beds for concessional older person in its facility. But social workers in hospital have found the concessional people wait far longer for a nursing home bed. Now we don’t have to wonder why.
    Thanks for your interest but should really leave it here.

  7. 0

    People should be able to stay at home rather than being forced to enter a nursing home. I a am sure with the right set up people can live successfully in their own homes, Retirement villages are not for everyone, My mother was fortunate to die in her own home which was her wish and that of mine. Nursing homes are full.



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