How to Access the Right Kind of Care

Posted on December 10, 2018.

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Well before you can access certain home care services you will need to register with My Aged Care.

This is the entry point for all government-funded aged care services. It gives you, family members, friends and others access to aged care information and assistance over the phone and from the My Aged Care website.

Eligibility and assessment

If you are an older person, usually 65-years and older or 55-plus for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and are finding it harder to cope with the day-to-day, you may be eligible for government subsidised aged care services.

Everyone is different and will have varying needs and expectations. Some reasons why you may need some help at home include:

  • Recovery from an operation, accident or illness, including following a stay in hospital
  • Difficulty with daily living tasks like meals, cooking, cleaning and housework
  • Personal care such as showering, dressing
  • Getting about in the community, to the shops and to social activities.

If your needs are greater and you require assistance with medication or nursing help, higher level support is available. And if you are not able to support yourself at home and need ongoing help, your assessment will include options for residential aged care.

The journey begins with a call to My Aged Care who will start the confidential conversation about your needs and circumstances. The trained assessor can visit your home to discuss your situation and what you want and, with your permission, create a client record so you can be registered with My Aged Care.

What is an ACAT?

Aged Care Assessment Teams are medical and allied health professionals who assess the needs of older people in consultation with their carers and family members to determine what kinds of care will best meet their needs.

You can be referred to an ACAT by your GP or other health professional or you can make an appointment directly. An ACAT assessment will also determine what Commonwealth-subsidised care services you may be eligible for, including:

  • Residential Care
  • Residential Respite Care
  • Home Care Services
  • Transitional Care

RAS - Regional Assessment Service

For simpler Home Care Services such as Commonwealth Home Support, assessments are done by the Regional Assessment Service (RAS). RAS will talk with you to see what help you need at home and can discuss what types of care or support you prefer and the costs involved.

Income and Assets Assessment

Considering home care or looking at moving into an aged care home? You should apply for an income assessment (for home care) or a combined income and assets assessment (for residential care).

To help gain quicker access to the services you need, we recommend contact with Centrelink or Department of Veterans Affairs as soon as possible. Read more about how these assessments work here.

What next?

Once you have registered with My Aged and received the results of your assessment you can find and set up your services. Remember you don’t need to wait until later to begin planning for the future.

Because most people value their independence, talking about care for yourself or a family member can be a difficult subject to broach, and helping elderly parents with their choices is often the first step.

The fear that talking about a home or residential care is ‘admitting failure’, and may mean these important conversations are put off for months or years, or until unforeseen events or health circumstances unexpectedly change.

So, setting aside some time and being open to each other’s wishes and concerns is a good start. You won’t have all the answers immediately, and talking to family members, friends, carers and your doctor may certainly help.

Finding a service

There are many ways to find the right kind of aged care services and nursing care plan to meet your needs. Many people begin with help at home to enable them to remain independent as long as possible. With recent changes to the way home care works in Australia, consumers can now choose which home care provider they would like to engage.

Take some time to look at a number of operators, their services and fee structures so you can inform your parents of their choices and you can all agree on what works best for your family.

Using the Service Finder at www.myagedcare.gov.au can help you to compare home care providers. Understanding the cost of home care can be a little confusing at first so don’t hesitate to call home care providers directly if you have questions.

Some providers such as Juniper will come out to your home and discuss home care with no obligation to sign up on the spot. This gives you and your parents the opportunity to sit down face to face with a home care provider and ask as many questions as you like so they feel comfortable they know what they are getting when the time comes.

Involve trusted health professionals

If your parents have a trusted GP or other health professional such a physiotherapist, approach them to raise the topic of home care with your parents. Sometimes the same advice from another person is better received.

Further assistance

If you would like to know more about Juniper’s home care services, email homecare@juniper.org.au or call our friendly customer service team on 1300 313 000.