What are the current Home Care Package inclusions and exclusions?
As we age and our care needs change, we often require some form of assistance with everyday activities. The support we require can range from household chores to managing medication, transport, personal care, and medical conditions.
To support older Australians changing care needs and their preference to continue living in their own homes as they age, the Australian government created a program called the ‘Home Care Package’ program. There are a range of services that are part of the Home Care Package inclusions.
While there is a broad range of Home Care Package inclusions, there are also certain excluded items from a Home Care Package. Home care Package inclusions will vary depending on the individual’s needs and goals, as outlined in their Care Plan.
What is and isn’t part of Home Care Package inclusions, is one of the most frequently asked questions about the program. That’s why we put together this blog post to cover Home Care Package inclusions and exclusions.
What are the Home Care Package inclusions?
There are a number of Home Care Package inclusions, such as:
- Bathing, hygiene and grooming:
- Maintaining your personal hygiene and grooming standards.
- Dressing and undressing.
- Clinical and nursing:
- Treating and monitoring medical conditions at home.
- Referrals to health practitioners or other related service providers.
- Other clinical services such as hearing and vision services.
- Allied Health services:
- Maintaining your movement and mobility.
- Nutrition, hydration, meal preparation, and diet:
- Assistance with preparing meals.
- Help with using cutlery and eating tools, as well as support with the physical act of eating, if required.
- Providing enteral feeding formula and equipment.
- Assistance with special diet for health, religious, cultural, or other reasons.
- Mobility and Dexterity:
- Providing mobility assistance such as crutches, quadruped walkers, walking sticks or frames, and wheelchairs.
- Providing devices to assist with lifting, bed rails, slide sheets, sheepskins, tri-pillows, and pressure-relieving mattresses.
- Assistance with learning to use the above aids and equipment.
- Management of skin integrity:
- Providing bandages, dressings, and skin emollients.
- Continence Management:
- Assessment for and, if required, providing disposable pads and absorbent aids, commode chairs, bedpans and urinals, catheter and urinary drainage appliances, and enemas.
- Assistance in using continence aids and appliances and managing continence.
- Cleaning, laundry, and other chores:
- Keeping your home clean and liveable.
- Personal laundry services including arranging for clothing and bedding washing, or dry-cleaning services where they cannot be machine washed.
- Support services:
- Rehabilitative support, or helping you to access rehabilitative support, to meet a professionally determined therapeutic need.
- Emotional support including ongoing support in adjusting to a lifestyle involving increased dependency and assistance for the care recipient and carer, if appropriate.
- Support for care recipients with cognitive impairment, including individual therapy, activities and access to specific programs designed to prevent or manage a particular condition or behaviour, enhance quality of life and provide ongoing support.
- Providing 24-hour on-call access to emergency assistance including access to an emergency call system if the care recipient is assessed as requiring it.
- Home or garden maintenance and home modifications:
- Keep your home and garden in a functionally safe condition.
- Keeping the house and garden in a functional, safe condition and provide a sufficient level of security, which may involve tasks like gutter cleaning.
- Modifications necessary to the home to keep the recipients safe such as easy access taps, shower hose or bath rails.
- Advising the care recipient on areas of concern in their home that pose safety risks and ways to mitigate the risks.
- Transport and Social Support:
- Providing or coordinating transport to social functions, visit health practitioners, shopping trips and other out-of-home services.
- Arranging social activities and providing or coordinating transport to social functions, entertainment activities and other out of home services.
- Encouraging you to remain social and interact with your community.
- Encouraging you to take part in social and community activities that promote and protect your lifestyle, interests and wellbeing.
- Care Management:
- Conducting frequent evaluations of your requirements, objectives and preferences.
- Reviewing your home care agreement and Care Plan on a regular basis.
- Ensuring that the care and services provided are in sync with other forms of assistance.
- Collaborating with you and your representatives to ensure that your care and services are aligned with your needs and preferences.
- Offering culturally appropriate and secure care services.
- Identifying and resolving risks that may jeopardise your safety, health and wellbeing.
- Access to other health and related services:
- Referral to health practitioners or other related service providers.
Home Care Packages offer a high degree of flexibility to cater to the unique care needs and goals of everyone. This means that your Home Care Package inclusions will encompass additional care and services if they meet certain criteria. For example, the care or service must be directly linked to your care needs and goals, have the potential to improve your health and wellbeing, and be necessary to enable you to continue living securely and independently in your home. Additionally, the care or service must be within your Home Care Package budget and qualify as an appropriate use of government funding.
Please note, Home Care Packages are not intended to replace care and services available through other health programs for which you may be eligible. These programs should still be accessed as needed through your GP and hospitals. By working closely with your Home Care Package provider, you can determine which services and programs are best suited for your unique needs and goals.
What is excluded from a Home Care Package?
There are expenses that cannot be covered by Home Care Package funds, including but not limited to:
- Services, goods or supports that people are expected to cover out of their general income throughout their life:
- General home services.
- Food, except as part of enteral feeding requirements or items listed under food for special medical purposes as per the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 2.9.5.
- Holiday travel and accommodation.
- Gym or pool memberships and access costs when not recommended for age-related functional decline.
- Expenses associated with private transportation, such as vehicle registration fees, vehicle repairs, vehicle insurance and fuel costs.
- Accommodation costs:
- Assistance with home purchase.
- Mortgage payments.
- Expenses related to the installation and repair of heating and cooling systems.
- General household furniture such as coffee tables, wardrobes, and bookshelves.
- Payment of home care fees:
- Defined at section 52D of the Aged Care Act 1997.
- Charges based on your income, standard charges for daily care and supplementary charges.
- Fees for other types of care already funded by the Australian Government:
- Dentures, dentistry and dental surgery.
- Natural therapies.
- Hearing aids available under the Hearing Services Program. For help with replacing your hearing aid or getting approval for a non-standard one, please contact Hearing Service Program (HSP). However, if the person receiving care does not have a pension concession card, the Home Care Package may cover a standard hearing aid provided by the HSP.
- Section 16.1 of the Home Care Packages Program Manual specifies more information about the aging-related programs you can and cannot access while receiving a Home Care Package.
- Services and items already covered by Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS):
- Co-payments or gap fees.
- Medications, vitamins and supplements.
- Consultation, tests or surgery with medical practitioner (GPs and specialists).
- Hospital costs and ambulance cover.
- Provision of cash debit cards or like payments for any purpose:
- Debit cards.
- Cash payments or gift vouchers.
- Providing the subsidy to you or your family’s personal or business bank account must be accompanied by strict verification by the provider to ensure the funds are used in accordance with the Home Care Agreement, care plan and individualised budget as outlined in the Records Principles of 2014. The verification process involves matching receipts with the provided funds.
- Employing family and friends:
- Family and friends may instead access the Carer’s Payment — https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/carer-payment
- Meal services:
- The raw food component of those meals cannot be included unless it is required for enteral feeding.
For a more simplified list of Home Care Package inclusions and exclusions, click here: https://letsgetcare.com.au/services/
You can view the official list from MyAgedCare of Home Care Package inclusions and exclusions here: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-01/operational-manual-for-home-care-package-consumers.pdf
To ensure the funds from a Home Care Package are used efficiently, we tailor your services to your specific needs and goals. We work with you to determine which services and items are essential to support you maintain a happy and independent lifestyle in your own home.
Remember, applying for a Home Care Package doesn’t have to be a complicated process. If you’re considering one, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly Care Expert team on 1300 497 442. Regardless of where you are in your home care journey, we’re here to help you navigate the industry and find the best solution for you.