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How to make the most of your home care package

2nd May 2019

If you’ve got a home care package and you aren’t using all of the funds available to you, you are far from alone. Around half of all Australians with home care packages don’t utilise the full funding and their accumulation of funds grows annually. The amount of unspent funds held by recipients of Home Care Packages (HCPs) has been estimated to total up to $350 million nationally.

What are unspent funds?

The term ‘unspent funds’ refers to the total amount of funds that is not spent on a person’s home care services.

Why do unspent funds accumulate?

The Health Department notes there are a number of reasons these monies may build up, including:

  • Automatic package upgrades: If someone has been assessed as requiring a higher level of care, but this package is not available at the time of their assessment, they will receive a lower package ‘while they wait’ – which is automatically upgraded as soon as a package becomes available to them. If this upgrade happens and they don’t review and upgrade their services to utilise this extra money, their funding will accumulate.
  • Rainy day saving: While the funding provided for an assessed level of care is intended to be used to meet those care needs, people set aside funds for a rainy day.
  • Temporary leave: Sometimes funds accumulate because someone has taken leave from their home care services and the money is not being spent as planned.

How to ensure you’re making the most of your package funds

Here’s a few ways to stay on top of your funding:

  • Continual review of your home care package and needs is key to making the most of your money. So work with your provider, regularly review your package funds and changing home care needs.
  • Ensure you have a clear understanding of what funds are available, and how you can spend those funds.
  • A perfect time to review your plan with your provider and arrange additional supports and services is when you receive notification that your home care package is upgraded.
  • We support the government’s recommendation that you spend your allocated funds to meet your current needs, to ensure you get the care you require to stay safe and comfortable at home. That said, you can set aside a small part of your home care package funding for future care needs and events, such as leave of a carer.
  • If you’re on a wait list for a higher-level package and you don’t need it, you can opt out. Your provider will be able to assist to avoid an automatic upgrade to a higher home care package level. You can opt back in should your care needs change, as your place on the national home care queue is based on your original application.[2]
  • Add extra services to your care plan. The more we can do to make your living experience enjoyable – the better!

Home care services available to you are extensive, can be more extensive than you may realise - from general housework to transport, shopping, home maintenance, a companion to assist you to access social and community events and much more!

For free support and advice or to begin your aged care journey, call Benetas on 1300 23 63 82. Our aged care experts can also arrange a free in-home consultation to help you discover your personalised options and what ‘home care’ could mean for you.

References

[1] Leading Aged Services

[2] Department of Health

 

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