When you have actually made a decision that a Home Care Package is right for you, you will be offered a Home Care Agreement with the service provider of your choice. The Home Care Agreement is an agreement between yourself and your service provider, setting out what the package will provide, how your package will be provided, and how much it will cost.
This must be offered to you before Home Care Package starts.
A care plan is part of your Home Care Agreement. Your service provider will work with you to help work out what care and services you need.
Personal goals and identified care needs
Personal goals are important in developing your care plan. Your goals can guide your choice of care and services to best support your needs. A goal could be something like maintaining a healthy lifestyle, or achieving independence in mobility.
Identified care needs are the areas of your life where you have been assessed as needing extra care and support. Care needs may be identified when you are assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team and through discussion with you during the care planning process.
During the care planning process, your service provider will need to take into account any support you already have in place, such as carers, family members, local community and other services. Your Home Care Package is intended to meet needs that are not already being met by these other supports.
As a guide, your care plan may include:
• the exact types of services you will receive
• who will provide which services
• how much involvement you will have in managing and coordinating your services
• when your services are delivered.
• when your services are delivered (for example, which day of the week)
• how much you will pay.
You should not be limited by a standard menu of services or service providers. If you identify a type of service that you feel would best meet your care needs, your service provider must do what they can to help you to get that care or service. This may include arrangements to source services from other service providers. As this may increase the cost of service to you, any additional costs should be made clear to you prior to you agreeing to the service.
Creating a budget for your package
When a service provider offers you a Home Care Package, they will need to work in partnership with you to develop a budget to fund your care plan. All care and services provided to you through a Home Care Package must be able to be paid for within the package budget.
Your service provider holds the package budget and will administer it on your behalf. The budget allows you to see what funds are available in your package and how those funds are being spent.
Your package budget is made up of:
• Australian Government subsidy (and eligible supplements)
• the basic daily care fee which all consumers receiving a Home Care Package can be asked to pay
• your income tested care fee (if you’ve entered into Home Care after 1 July 2014) which you may need to pay depending on your assessable income
• any other amount you’ve agreed to with your service provider.
All care and services provided to you through a Home Care Package must be accommodated within your package budget.
Any unspent funds, must be rolled over from month to month and year to year for as long as you remain in the package.
Monthly income and expenses statement
Once services commence, the service provider must give you monthly statements to show you how your budget is being spent under the package and the balance of funds. These statements will be in plain English and will be set out in a simple and easy to understand format.
You can negotiate with the service provider whether you receive a paper, email or web-based version of the statement.
Can someone help me with creating my care planning?
You can have another person, such as a carer or family member, with you to help co-design your care.
You have the right to call on an advocate that you choose to represent you when talking with a service provider. An advocate can help you by:
• establishing or reviewing the Home Care Agreement, care plan and individualised budget
• talking and negotiating with your service provider about fees and charges
• talking about any concerns you may have.
Your service provider must allow an advocate acting for you access to the home care service.
If you need help, an advocate can be made available through the National Aged Care Advocacy Programme (NACAP) by calling 1800 700 600.
Find out more about your rights and responsibilities.
Some things to keep in mind about your care plan
Here are some questions you might like to think about when making your plan:
• what is important to me?
• what sorts of things might help to improve my day to day life?
• what do I enjoy doing most?
• what support do I need to stay safe?
• what makes my life enjoyable and meaningful?
• where and when do I want that support?
• how much could I be asked to contribute to my care costs?
Your service provider will need to discuss with you what care and services can be provided, either in-house or through existing brokerage arrangements.
Your care plan cannot be changed without your agreement.
Your service provider must give you a copy of any agreed changes to the care plan for your records.
The Home Care Agreement and care plan should include responsibilities of the service provider and you and your carer.
Your care needs can change over time and your care plan should be amended to meet those changing needs.
Your care plan should be reviewed at least once every 12 months to ensure your care and services are meeting your needs. You can ask for a review of your care plan at any time if your care needs change.
What if you are not able to sign the Agreement?
If you are unable to sign a Home Care Agreement because of any physical incapacity or mental impairment, another person representing you may enter the Agreement on your behalf.
What if you do not wish to sign the Home Care agreement?
While the service provider must always offer and be prepared to enter into a Home Care Agreement, you can choose not to sign the Agreement. If this happens, the service provider still needs to talk and negotiate with you the level of involvement you would like to have in managing your package, as well as co-design the type of care and services you need.
It is important that the service provider records the reasons for you not having a signed Agreement and the basis of the care that you are getting.