How to stay in your home longer

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 justbettercare.com

Related articles:
Home care versus aged care
How home care packages have changed
Increasing choice in home care

Written by Ben

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