Home Care packages

What we do

Uniting is an approved provider of Australian Government funded Home Care Packages Program. We play an active role in empowering older people to live enriching lives, while supporting carers to take better care of themselves.

Our home care services collaborate with healthcare professionals and family members to tailor in-home aged care services to help older people meet their needs.

As a not-for-profit provider, we aim to minimise our costs without compromising the quality of service you receive. We have been at the forefront of delivering innovative services to meet the needs of our consumers and are strong advocates for the Consumer Directed Care (CDC) model.

The Home Care Packages Program helps you live independently in your own home for as long as you can. The Australian Government provides a subsidy to an approved home care package provider towards a package of care, services and care management to meet your individual needs.

About Home Care Packages

The HCP program provides four levels of support

 

Home Care Level 1
Basic care needs

Home Care Level 2
Low level care needs

Home Care Level 3
Intermediate care needs

Home Care Level 4
High care needs

With your package you can access the following services

Clinical care
For example: Nursing, allied health and physiotherapy for mobility and strength

Support services
For example: Assistance with home help, visiting the doctor and attending social activities

Personal care
For example: Help with showering, dressing and moving around the home

Nutrition
For example: Assistance with preparing meals, including special health diets, and assistance with using utensils and eating.

Program funding

The money for your Home Care Package comes from the Australian Government and is paid to the service provider who you’ve chosen to sign your Home Care Agreement with. You will be required to complete an assessment with Centrelink before or at the beginning of your Home Care Package. This assessment will help determine whether you’ll need to contribute money towards the cost of your care.

The Government contribution is called a ‘subsidy’ and is paid monthly to your chosen service provider. If you choose Uniting to manage your Home Care Package, we will be accountable for how the package money is spent in accordance with government guidelines and your care plan.

The Australian Government subsidises a range of aged care services in Australia. Any fees and eligibility for subsidy will be discussed and agreed upon with you before you sign your Service Agreement and start receiving services.

Accessing a Home Care Package

1. Assessing your needs

To get a package, you must first be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Service. To organise an assessment, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. An assessor from Aged Care Assessment Service will contact you to organise an assessment at your home.

In this meeting, they will talk with you about the type of supports you are currently receiving, your health concerns and how you manage around your home. To prepare for this meeting, it helps to think about your current needs and what you will need in the foreseeable future. Based on your needs, Aged Care Assessment Service will recommend the appropriate Home Care Package level (1, 2, 3 or 4). You will then be placed in a queue to wait for a package.

You are welcome to have other people at the assessment to support you, such as a family member, friend, or carer.

2. Choosing a Home Care Package provider

My Aged Care will notify you when a package is available and also provide suggestions of Home Care Package providers in your local area.

These are suggestions only – you have the freedom to choose your own provider.

The services may differ between each provider, so contact different agencies to see how they can best assist you.

Tip: When choosing a provider, look for one that offers you choice and flexibility in managing your package.

3. Setting up your Home Care Package

If you choose Uniting, we will start with a visit to your home. This home visit will give you the opportunity to ask questions about what w  do, so you can get to know us better. During this meeting, we will talk about:

  • Your immediate and long-term needs as well as any future goals, to help you plan the services that meet your objectives
  • The level of self-management which best suits you. Uniting offers two levels of self management so you can decide on how much involvement you want in the day-today management of your package
  • How your HCP funding is spent. Our qualified staff can guide you on the care
    options available, so you get the most out of your package.

You’ll be involved in every aspect of creating your Home Care Package before you sign your Service Agreement. And if your needs or goals change, we will work with you to amend your package.

4. Starting your Home Care Package

Your Home Care Package will start once you sign the Service Agreement.

We’ll regularly check in with you to see how you are going. If your situation and goals change, we can review and adjust your Home Care Package so that it continues to meet your needs.

If your needs significantly change, we will work with you to update your care plan and if necessary, organise for your Home Care Package to be formally reassessed.

Your Service Agreement: Your Home Care Agreement is a legal agreement between you and your service provider. Informed by your care plan, it sets out how your services will be provided, who will provide them, and how much they will cost.

Your Home Care Package and us

As your provider, we will give you all the information you need so you can make an informed decision about your Home Care Package.

We will:

  • Offer you a Home Care Agreement that records the administrative details of your Home Care Package
  • Give you a copy of the Charter of Aged Care Rights booklet and explain its contents. This charter is available in 18 languages. View a copy in your preferred language.
  • Provide you with a written care plan within 14 days of entering into your Home Care Agreement. Your Home care Package is designed to meet your goals and assessed care needs, as determined by Aged Care Assessment Service, and set out the day-to-day services you will receive, who will provide the services, and when.
  • Develop an individualised budget that outlines the funding available to you, including Government subsidies, supplements and the fees or contributions made by you. Your budget will explain how these funds are to be used
  • Provide a monthly statement outlining how your funds have been used each month and any remaining funds in your Home Care Package.

Care management and care coordination

Care management and care coordination are vital components to ensure you get the most from your Home Care Package .

Our qualified staff will work with you to:

  • Help you explore the different care services and options available under your plan
  • Plan and tailor services to meet your needs
  • Provide choice in the amount of Care Management and Care Coordination you would like to receive
  • Monitor your monthly financial statement to ensure you have full transparency of the services and fees incurred.

You will be informed about the number of care management hours you receive upfront.

Carer support

If you provide unpaid care to an older person, it is important to look after your own wellbeing. We deliver many government funded programs which can assist carers. One such program is the Commonwealth Home Support Program – Carer Relationships, which is funded by the Australian Government.

Download a copy of our home care packages program brochure

How involved can I be in managing my own package?

You can determine the level of involvement you want and how much assistance you need from your Care Manager. Uniting offers two levels of self-management, so you choose the one which best suits your circumstances.

Economy Package

This level gives you full control of your package with access to all our services if you need them.

You can independently determine and coordinate the services you need with the full support of our administration team and on-call consultant.

A Store Value Card is a key part of this option.

Premium Package

This level gives you full care management through a personal consultant who will help with your initial needs assessment, to create a tailored care plan for you.

The services are coordinated by your consultant and our dedicated Customer Service Team.

Both levels of self-management give you access to an after hours telephone service along with advocacy service coordination and other support.

Each package begins with an initial assessment with your Care Manager, and includes an emergency plan to assist you in the case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Fees & Charges

The Australian Government pays the core cost of aged care in Australia, but if you have the capability, you may be asked by Centrelink to contribute towards the cost of your care.

The two fees set by the Australian Government are:

A Basic Daily Fee which can be charged at up to 17.5% of the single age pension. For HCPs offered through Uniting, the basic daily fee is waived.

An Income-Tested Care Fee will apply if you have an income over the threshold. You will not be asked to pay an income-tested care fee if you are a full pensioner or have a yearly income below the threshold. The threshold is different depending on your individual circumstances.

Centrelink works out the Income-Tested Care Fee based on an assessment of your financial information. The assessment does not include the value of assets such as your house.

There is a limit to how much you have to pay in Income-Tested Care Fees. For part pensioners, it is around $5,617.47 per year*. For self-funded retirees, it is around $11,234.96 per year*. There is a lifetime limit for Income-Tested Care Fees. This is currently set at around $67,409.85*. Once you have reached this cap you will not have to pay any further income or means tested care fees during your lifetime.

The Australia Government reviews these figures yearly. Please see a copy of our current Funding, Fees & Services schedule for more information.

The Australian Government has created a website and helpline called My Aged Care to assist you. My Aged Care can help you estimate the fees and charges you may have to pay towards your Home Care Package.

You can apply for financial hardship assistance if you believe you will have financial difficulty contributing to the cost of your Home Care Package.

*As at September 2020

Download a copy of our home care packages costs and fees booklet

Stored Value Cards

A Stored Value Card is a debit card into which we deposit an amount from your package which we’ve previously agreed with you. With the card, you can buy services or equipment yourself, provided they are within Government guidelines.

You can track the financial aspects of your package through monthly statements sent to you. Your monthly statement shows you where the money in your package has been spent and how much is left in your budget.

As you are able to track the money spent, you may find you have more to spend on services than you thought, or be more selective with the services to include in your care plan.

FAQs

What is Care Management and Package Management?

Care Management and Package Management are vital components to ensure that you get the most from your Home Care Package. Having our highly skilled staff work with you to plan, monitor and adjust what services you need is important. Their expertise can identify things you may not have considered and options you might not know about.

We give you choice in the amount of Care Management and Package Management which you would like us to provide. You also have the option of using more of your package for additional Case Management hours if you wish.

It is because of our skills in Care Management and Package Management that our clients remain living in their own homes longer than the national average.

What is Consumer Directed Care (CDC)?

Consumer Directed Care is a model of service delivery designed to give more choice and flexibility to consumers. Clients who receive a Home Care Package now have more control over the types of care and services they receive, how the care is delivered and who delivers the care.

Consumer Directed Care aims to empower the individual, giving them more control and choice, while building their capacity through a transparent system. This approach encourages clients to use their imagination when exploring options within government guidelines. To achieve your goals, we can help you explore your community connections, family relations, community, private resources and more.

After research and consultation, clients identified areas which are important to them: choice, control, capacity building and transparency. These areas are those we also stand for and we provide services and information shaped by these pillars.

Choice and flexibility
You are aware of the choices open to you and you design the supports you want. Including when and how your supports are delivered to you, and who delivers them.

Control
You determine the level of control and assistance you want in directing your own supports. All of your decisions are respected.

Capacity building
You are empowered and supported to take on the level of control of the supports you receive, to which you aspire.

Transparency
You have the information you need to make informed decisions. 

What is My Aged Care?

My Aged Care is the entry point for aged care services in Australia.

The My Aged Care website has been established by the Australian Government to help you understand and access the aged care system.

My Aged Care also has a national contact centre. They can provide you with information on aged care, whether for yourself, a family member, friend or someone you're caring for.

You will be able to access any additional information you may need on Aged Care in Australia.

Visit: myagedcare.gov.au or call on 1800 200 422 for more information.

Can I choose my own service provider?

You can choose any provider, not just the ones suggested by My Aged Care. If you don’t have a provider in mind, take the time to do your research. If you have friends who receive services, ask about their providers. This is an important decision so look for a service provider that has an established track record of helping people live independently in their own home.

And remember, if you’re not happy with the service you receive, you have the option to switch.

Can I choose how my package is spent?

Transparency is one of the basic principles of Consumer Directed Care. It is Government policy that all package holders on the same level receive the same amount of funding as each other. For example, all level 4 package holders receive the same funding as all other level 4 package holders.

You will be able to track the financial aspects of your package through monthly statements sent to you from your provider.

Your monthly statement will show you where the dollars in your package are being spent and how much is left in your budget.

Because you are able to track the dollars spent, you may find that you have more to spend on services than  you thought, or you may find you must be selective with which services you want and exclude the services which are less important to you.

Time spent in contact with your consultant is allocated to a set amount of time per month for Home Care Packages. People who want more case management and contact with their consultant should account for this in their package budget.

We are here to assist you to make a smooth transition into your Home Care Package and help you balance the service and consultation that best suits your needs as an individual.

Whenever you have questions, we will work closely with you to ensure that the services you receive are truly based on what is most important to you.

All choices are yours and you will be able to track your choices on your monthly statement.

What can’t I spend my Home Care Package money on?

Government guidelines outline what you can and can’t spend the funds in your HCP on.

Examples of things you can’t include in your Home Care Package are:

  • Day-to-day bills
  • Food
  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • White goods
  • Gambling
  • Holidays and entertainment
  • Items already covered by Medicare or Pharmaceutical
  • Benefits
  • Programs already funded or subsidised by the Australian Government.
How long can I stay on my package?

Provided you meet the Government’s eligibility requirements, you can stay on a Home Care Pacakge for as long as you need.

How involved can I be in managing my own package?

You can determine the level of involvement you want and how much assistance you need from your Care Manager. Uniting offers two levels of self-management, so you choose the one which best suits your circumstances.

Economy Package

This level gives you full control of your package with access to all our services if you need them. You

can independently determine and coordinate the services you need with the full support of our administration team and on-call consultant.

A Store Value Card is a key part of this option.

Premium Package

This level gives you full care management through a personal consultant who will help with your

initial needs assessment, to create a tailored care plan for you.

The services are coordinated by your consultant and our dedicated Customer Service Team.

Both levels of self-management give you access to an after hours telephone service along with advocacy service coordination and other support.

Each level begins with an initial assessment with your Care Manager, and includes an emergency plan to assist you in the case of any unforeseen circumstances.

What fees will I be charged?

The Australian Government pays the core cost of aged care in Australia, but if you have the capacity as assessed by Centrelink, you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your care.

The two fees set by the Australian Government are:

  1. A Basic Daily Fee which can be charged at up to 17.5% of the single age pension. For HCPs offered through Uniting, this basic daily fee is waived.
  2. An Income-Tested Care Fee will apply if you have an income over the threshold. You will not be asked to pay an income-tested care fee if you are a full pensioner or have a yearly income below the threshold. The threshold varies depending on your individual circumstances. Centrelink works out the Income-Tested Care Fee based on an assessment of your financial information. The assessment

does not include the value of assets such as your house.

We have produced a simple document outlining our costs and fees. If you have not received a copy of our Costs and Fees Schedule, please ask us for one.

Do fees differ across agencies?

Fees differ from provider to provider. We work hard to keep our administration and care

management fees low so that you have more to spend on the services you need.

What if I need in-home support, but I’m not eligible for a Home Care Package?

If you are unsure about your eligibility, call us to talk about your options. You may find that

you are eligible for other government-funded services. Alternatively, you may want to consider self-funded services.

If I’m a self-funded retiree or a part-pensioner, is it worth taking a Home Care Package?

Part-pensioners and self-funded retirees will be asked by Centrelink to contribute additional funds. Depending on your circumstances, a HCP may still benefit you.

If you are eligible for a Level 3 or 4 package, consider your care needs and how much you will need to contribute compared with how much the government will subsidise.

What happens if I want to leave my service provider?

You are free to leave your service provider at any time and choose another provider to deliver your Home Care Package. Keep in mind that providers may have a notification period and charge an exit fee to cover the administration costs of transferring your package to another provider.

What happens if my needs change?

If your needs temporarily change as a result of an accident, illness, decline in health or if your carer becomes ill or goes on holidays, your Care Manager may be able to adjust your existing plan to meet your immediate needs.

You may also be able to access additional government-funded services beyond your Home Care Package. Your Care Manager will be able to recommend any services for which you may be eligible. If you are not eligible for additional government-funded services, you may want to consider self-funded services.

In the event your needs change substantially, you may need to move to a higher-level package. Should this occur, we will help you with the reassessment process with the Aged Care Assessment Service.

Other services you might be interested in

CHSP 

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) is a government funded program that helps senior Australians access entry-level support services.

Homeshare

Homeshare Program where we match older people or people with a disability looking for help and companionship with a suitable person - in return for affordable accommodation

Carer services

The Carer Gateway is the Commonwealth Government’s new service for supporting carers across Australia.

Get in touch to find out more about our Aged & Carer services.