The New Aged Care System
From July 1, 2014 a new aged care system has applied in Australia that places a greater emphasis on assisting Australians to stay in their own homes. The new system will only apply to people entering aged care facilities, or who received care packages, after July 1, 2014.
The previous system differentiated between low care, that covered self supported living arrangements, and high care that related to nursing homes. Under the new system there is only one class of aged care facility.
This now means Australians have a choice between staying in their own home and receiving assistance under a “Home Care Package” or going into “Residential Care”. Both types of aged care include a basic fee and an income tested fee. In addition residential care has extra fees such as an accommodation payment or increased daily care fees.
As was the case under the old aged care system it does pay to shop around rather than being forced into an age care facility due to personal circumstances. This is because, as was the case under the old system, an age care facility can still take all of the assets of a resident and leave them with only $40,000.
As would be expected with the introduction of any new system new terminology has been introduced. These terms include:
- Refundable Accommodation Deposit
- Daily Accommodation Payment
- Refundable Accommodation Contribution
- Daily Accommodation Contribution
Home Care Packages
Home Care Packages have been introduced to help people stay in their home longer and give them choice and flexibility in the way they are given care and support.
To receive services under a HCP a Home Care Agreement must be drawn up.
The services provided under HCA’s are split into four levels:
- Level 1 support for people with basic care needs
- Level 2 support for people with low level care needs
- Level 3 support for people with intermediate care needs
- Level 4 support for people with high level care needs
The range of services offered under a HCA include:
- helping with personal requirements such as showering, bathing, dressing and mobility,
- assisting with general household functions such as washing, ironing, housecleaning, gardening, basic home maintenance, home modifications related to care needs, transport for shopping and visits to doctors and social activities, and
- providing medical based assistance such as nursing and other health support such as physiotherapy, hearing and vision services.
Where extra services and care are needed, such as dementia and cognition support or supplementary oxygen for medical reasons, they are available through the home care provider.
Eligibility For A Home Care Package
To receive home care assistance an assessment must be made by a member of an aged care assessment team or an aged care assessment service. As a part of this assessment a package will be offered by a home care provider that addresses the needs and requirements of the person or couple applying for the assistance.
Once the assessment has been carried out and a person or couple are eligible for the package they will be put in touch with home care providers in the area. As a part of working out the HCP the Home Care Provider will enter into a Home Care Agreement that sets out what care and services will be received
Residential Aged Care
When it comes to residential care there is no longer a differentiation between low level care and high level care. In addition to dropping this differentiation people who move into an aged care facility from July 1, 2014 can pay a range of fees. These include:
- a basic fee that will be paid by all people who receive residential care,
- a means tested care fee that is an extra contribution to the cost of care that is based on the residents income and assets,
- an accommodation payment that is also dependant on a person or couple’s assets that is paid either as a lump sum refundable deposit, a daily accommodation payment, or a combination of both,
- fees for extra or additional optional services such as hairdressing or cable TV and other services that are in addition to basic services provided.