Older people have managed their own lives for a long time.
It comes as no surprise that they do not want to be submissive recipients of services, dependent on funded providers. They want to remain independent and have choice, control and flexibility over the care and services they receive.
From July 1, every government funded Home Care Package will be provided on a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) basis.
But what is Consumer Directed Care? How is it different? How will it affect your home care services? We’ve answered some of the most common questions below.
What is Consumer Directed Care (CDC)?
Consumer Directed Care is a new way of delivering government funded services that allows older people to make choices about they type of care services they access and the delivery of those services, including who will deliver the services and when.
How does CDC differ from traditional Home Care Packages?
There are a number of differences between the traditional Home Care Package and a Home Care Package that is delivered on a CDC basis.
Choice and flexibility
You can now choose the type of care you receive, how your care is delivered, when your care is delivered, which provider delivers your care, how much involvement you want in managing your package and how your care package funding is being spent.
Wider range of care providers to choose from
You are no longer restricted to the services of the “Approved Provider” with the Home Care Package funding, although they will continue to manage and administer the funding of your package. This enables you to request your preferred home care provider, including private providers.
You will be provided with regular financial statements to ensure transparency in how the funding allocated to your care needs is being accounted for. You will have access to budgeting information, including the cost of services and the contents of your budget.
You will be encouraged to identify personal goals, which could include independence, wellness and re-ablement. These goals will form the basis of your Home Care Agreement and personalised care plan.
Focus on re-ablement
Consumer Directed Care builds on what you can do rather than focusing on what you can’t do. The aim is to help you maintain your independence and improve your health and wellbeing in the home.
Ability to top up services
You can buy extra services with your own funds if you want to have more assistance than what is covered by your home care package. If you purchase additional hours, you can request the same carers to deliver both government funded and private care services.
What kinds of assistance can I receive?
There are many different services that may support you to stay in their own home for longer. CDC provides the added ability of choosing and altering these services as your care needs and preferences change. Services could include:
- Personal care (showering, dressing, toileting)
- Meal preparation and eating
- Grocery shopping
- Social support
- Home maintenance and modifications
- 24 hour on call service
- Nurse visits
- Allied health support
- Safety equipment
- Counselling services
- How can I get a Home Care Package?
Eligibility for a Home Care Package is decided by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)
A member of the ACAT team will visit you at home to talk about your daily routine and support system. They will also talk about your physical and mental health and what you would like help with.
You will also need to complete an income assessment via Centrelink to determine your eligibility. Only people on the aged pension or with annual income levels below a fixed amount are eligible for government funded home care packages. You will never be denied a service because you can’t afford it.
You can find your nearest ACAT at www.myagedcare.gov.au or phone 1800 200 422. Your doctor can also refer you to the closest ACAT.
How much support can I receive?
The ACAT assessment determines how much support you can get. There are 4 levels of Home Care Package, each with different amounts of funding. The levels are:
Level 1: Basic care needs
Level 2: Low-level care needs
Level 3: Intermediate care needs
Level 4: High level care needs
You may be asked to make a contribution if you can afford to do so. If your situation changes and you require a higher or lower level of care, your level can be reviewed.
To estimate this contribution, you can visit the Home Care Fee Estimated website at www.myagedcare.gov.au.
How can I find a home care service provider?
The ACAT team may provide you with a list of the home care service providers in the area. If there are no packages available, they may need to join a waiting list.
If this happens, you may consider engaging a private home care provider while waiting for the appropriate package to become available. If this isn’t an option, you may consider taking up a package at a lower level if it is offered by a home care service provider.
Bigger changes to come…
From February 1 2017, funding for Home Care Packages will follow the consumer, allowing them to select any “Approved Provider” to deliver their care. The packages will be portable, meaning consumers can change their service provider whenever they want. These changes will give older Australians the complete control and choice they deserve when it comes to ageing in place and maintaining their independence.
Home Instead Senior Care has developed a free resource guide called “Home Care Solutions” which details these changes and provides practical tips and insights about ageing in place. For your free copy, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office.
By Mark McBriarty at Home Instead Senior Care