Commonly Asked Questions and Useful Links

What is Home Care? Is it different to Aged Care?

The term “Aged Care” is generally used to refer to care provided in an Aged Care Home (also known as a Residential Aged care facility and previously called Nursing Homes or Hostels), On the other hand, “Home Care” provides individually planned and coordinated services provided in the older person’s home to help them remain living in their own home. Home care may also be provided into a relative’s home if the older person is living with a son or daughter for example.

Home care can provide a range of services including help about the house, assistance with showering and dressing and nursing care. To find out more about home care and Home Care Packages look at the My Aged Care Website. www.myagedcare.com.au

How can I stay at Home and not go to a Nursing Home?

You may be eligible for a Home Care Package if you need a number of different types of services assistance at home. If you needs are less complicated or if you just need support for a short time, you may be eligible for assistance through the Home and Community Care (HACC) program. This program provides a range of basic maintenance and support services to assist frail older people and younger people with disabilities to live independently at home.

If you think you may need some of these services call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

To find out if you are eligible for a care package you will need a referral to an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) – also called Aged Care Assessment Services (ACAS) in Victoria.

To organise an assessment call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422

How can I find a Home Care Service in my area?

In most parts of Australia you can approach a HACC organisation directly for assistance. However, in Western Australia there are special HACC Assessment Services.

For further information about care packages or the HACC program in your area, call 1800 200 422 (Free call)

What Is a Home Care Package?

If you have more complex needs, a Home Care Package provides services that will help you to remain at home for as long as possible, as well as providing choice and flexibility in the way that the care and support is provided. There are four levels of packages to cater for different needs.

For further information on Home Care Packages go to www.agedcareguide.com.au

How do I get one?

To receive a Home Care Package you will need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT/ACAS). Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422

What is an Aged Care Assessment Team?

The ACAT helps elderly people, and their carers, determine what kind of care will best meet their needs, when they are no longer able to manage on their own.

If you would like help finding your local ACAT, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Do I need a referral from my Doctor?

It is not always necessary to have a referral from you local GP but it is generally a good idea. Your local doctor may be able to refer you to an ACAT in your area or refer you to a suitable HACC service nearby.

To check out what is best for you, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422

How do I find a Home Care Package in my area?

Speak to your friends and family who may have ideas and be keen to support you. Look at the My Aged Care Website on www.myagedcare.com.au or give them a call on 1800 200 422. You can also look at www.agedcareguide.com.au

Will there be a waiting list and will I be waiting a long time?

This can vary from area to area and may depend on how urgent your needs are.

To check out what is available for you, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422

Is it possible for me to get a package for my relative? What do I do if my elderly relative needs help?

Yes, just call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 for the address and phone number of their local ACAT and organise an assessment. ACATs usually cover a particular area so there will be one that covers the area where you relative lives. You could also call their local doctor for an appointment. Local GPs usually know where the nearest ACAT is located and can make a referral for you. It is usually best to talk to your relative about this before hand.

What is consumer direction? How can I tell if the package my mum is on is consumer directed or not?

Consumer Directed Care (CDC) gives older people and their carer’s a greater say about the types of care services they receive and the delivery of those services. You can find out if your relative’s package is Consumer Directed by asking their home care provider. Under CDC, the person receiving the services (or their representative) can determine the level of involvement they would like in managing their own package. This includes decisions about times of care and services you wish to receive. Maybe you are running your own allied health service on a private basis or you are part of a private allied health group. This could work out really well if you wanted to become a preferred provider to our home care services.

Maybe you are running your own allied health service on a private basis or you are part of a private allied health group. This could work out really well if you wanted to become a preferred provider to our home care services.

You and you relative will be provided with a personalised budget so that you can see how much funding is available for services and how the money is being spent.

To find out more about Consumer Directed Care look at the My Aged Care Website on www.myagedcare.com.au

How will I know if it is a high quality service?

You will soon be able to find your home care provider on the My Aged Care website and see the star rating they have earned. This is not happening as yet but the My Aged care website will one day give you this sort of information www.myagedcare.com.au

In the meantime, talk to your GP and your friends and neighbours. Many of them will have direct experience. They can tell you about the services they are using.

What fees are included in Home Care? Is it cheaper than a Nursing Home?

The Australian Government pays for the bulk of aged care in Australia, but as with all aged care services, you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your care. You may want to consult with a financial adviser about your finances. It’s a good idea to do some research to see what options work best for you.

To check out the costs of home care, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422

Can someone with Dementia stay at home alone?

Yes, it is possible if they receive suitable service and supports depending on their particular needs. For more information call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422

Or you could get in touch with Alzheimer’s Australia at www.fightdementia.com.au

How can I find out about Alzheimer’s? Have I got Alzheimer’s? Has my Dad got Alzheimer’s? What if I know someone I think has dementia?

It is important to talk to a local GP. They are usually able to help you to sort this out. Sometimes older people may appear confused when they are actually physically unwell. They may have an infection for example. Your GP can help with a referral to a Memory Clinic or a medical specialist to sort out a diagnosis.

A diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be very concerning for everyone involved. Contact Alzheimer’s Australia for strategies to understand more about this condition. Alternately you can see www.dementiacareaustralia.com

What if my relative was born overseas? Can they still get government funded care? What if my older relative does not speak English?

The Australian Government funds organisations under the Community Partners Program (CPP) to assist aged people from diverse ethnic backgrounds in accessing aged care services.

To find out the multicultural services available in your area, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Is there help for older Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders?

Information about the location and types of aged care services available specifically for older people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is available by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Can you get Palliative care in the home?

Yes, you can. See www.palliativecare.org.au  For local services ask your GP for advice.

What should I do if my elderly relative is depressed?

Encourage them to visit their GP who may refer them to an Aged Mental Health service.

How do I get home nursing?

Your GP can refer you to a suitable home nursing service. If you only need one or two of services to help you stay living in your own home, you can access them through the HACC program. This program can assist you if you need extra help to stay in your own home longer. HACC includes home nursing care. If you have more complex needs, you can receive similar services to the HACC program that are coordinated and tailored to meet your specific needs through a Home Care Package.

If you need nursing care at home you can also call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

What is respite care?

Respite services are designed to give family carers a break from their caring role and can be arranged for planned breaks, regular weekly breaks, short holidays or emergencies. Services are available within the person's home, in a day care centre or in a residential care facility.

See www.myagedcare.com.au and www.carersaustralia.com.au or www.commcarelink.health.gov.au

What do I do if my relative is in Hospital and I need to look for an Aged Care Home?

The Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will assess your relative’s required care level.  Talk to the nurses and medical team looking after your relative in hospital. They can arrange for one of the ACAT staff to visit your relative in hospital to see what is needed. They can also tell you about homes in your area. The ACATs usually work closely with the Social Workers in hospitals. They may be able to suggest suitable homes for you to visit. See www.agedcareguide.com.au or www.myagedcare.com.au

How can I stay well at home?

Having regular checkups from you GP is a good idea. Staying active and involved in your community and keeping in touch with your friends can also assist you to stay well. The Council on the Ageing can assist www.cotavic.org.au

What can I do for an older person living alone if I think they are lonely?

The My Aged Care website www.myagedcare.com.au can direct them to activities and programs relevant to their needs. You could Encourage them to join a group or activity such as U3A. U3A offers many other useful resources for older people, especially those who are geographically, physically or socially isolated. Adult Learning Australia www.ala.asn.au U3A www.u3a.org.au

Should my older relatives still be driving?

This is a difficult question to answer. Their local GP may be able to assist. For quality of life and wellbeing, it’s vital to think about and plan ways that people with dementia and their families and carers can keep mobile, active and socially connected in the transition to non-driving. See www.fightdementia.com.au