Home care is increasing in popularity for older Australians as an alternative to residential care. This is because your client can choose where to live – either at home or in a retirement community or perhaps with the kids – and the care they need will come to them.
But with popularity comes some downsides – demand for home care packages exceeds the number that have been made available. Once you are approved for a package, you will go on the waiting list until funding becomes available. This could be a wait of 3 months or longer.
About 235,000 older Australians receive help through a home care package, with around 43,550 packages released in the December 2022 quarter. Most people waiting are receiving Commonwealth Home Support Package services, so they have access to some support while waiting.
Australia’s population is projected to increase to more than 38 million by 2060 (from approximately 25.8 million today) which will place greater strain on transport, infrastructure, housing, education, health and aged care services (including both home and residential aged care).
The population will also age significantly over this time which means more people will likely need to access health and aged care services. The number of people aged 75 years and over is projected to increase by about 4 million between 2012 and 2060.
The need for more aged care services, the desire of people to remain in their own homes, and people living longer creates challenges for the aged care industry.
In–home care may enable people to remain living in their homes as long as possible by allowing them more choice, control and easier access to a range of services that can be tailored to their specific needs.
Access to care at home may help delay or even negate the need to move into residential aged care but it generally requires good family/friend support networks in the home to provide ongoing support.
Government subsidised home care services are offered through two programs:
- Commonwealth Home Support Program (basic care) – CHSP
- Home care packages (basic to high level care) – HCP
- There is also the option to purchase privately funded services.
Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)
The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) offers a range of entry–level home care services that can be provided to clients living in the community – be it in their own home, in a retirement village, or living with their children (or other family members).
These services are subsidised by the government on a grants basis to the provider. Clients may be asked to contribute towards the cost, with the fees set and negotiated by the provider.
The purpose of the CHSP is to help people live independently and safely in their home. It does this by providing help with daily tasks. The program aims to work with the client to maintain their independence rather than doing things for them. If needs are more complex, a home care package can provide more assistance and provide a range of support services tailored to specific needs.
CHSP services are provided by a range of organisations including community services, local government, religious groups, or private commercial operators.
Home care packages (HCP)
Home care packages provide those in need with a greater level of support than the CHSP.
A home care package is generally for a person who would not be able to live at home without care. They provide a co–ordinated package of services tailored to meet more complex care in–home needs. These services include:
- personal care
- support services
- clinical care
- home modifications.
Services can be provided in the person’s own home, including retirement villages, rental accommodation, group home or living with children/family members.
The packages are offered by a range of not–for–profit and commercial organisations. They are government subsidised, so approval is required from an ACAT/ACAS to receive a package.
Sophie Doyle (AR#000470612) is an Aged Care Specialist at Morgans Financial Limited (Morgans AFSL 235410 / ABN49 010 669 726); with a passion for assisting people make informed financial decisions, as they navigate their way through retirement and aged care. Disclaimer: While every care has been taken, Morgans Financial Limited makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. The information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without consideration of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making any decisions, you should consider the appropriateness for your personal investment objectives, financial situation or individual needs. We recommend you see a financial adviser, registered tax agent or legal adviser before making any decisions based on this information. Current at 30 June 2023.