Consumer Directed Care is a model of service delivery designed to benefit consumers of aged care services. In February 2017, the government deregulated and made changes to the way it provides and funds Home Care Packages thanks to the implementation of Consumer Directed Care.
Consumer Directed Care gives aged care consumers more choice and flexibility with the types of care and services they receive from a Home Care Package. Consumers now have more control over what care service they need, how it is provided to them, and more importantly, who provides it.
One of the key changes the government made to enable the principles of Consumer Directed Care, was to allow consumers with a Home Care Package to choose the care provider of their choice. In the past, Home Care Packages were predominantly given to large not-for-profit organisations. Aged care consumers would then have to apply for a Home Care Package available from the organisation.
Now Home Care Packages are given to the individual consumer who decides which aged care provider they would like to redeem it for, whether it be a private or not-for-profit organisation.
Before the deregulation of aged care funding, there were four main problems:
- Home Care Packages were predominantly offered to large not-for-profit organisations.
- Consumers had no real choice of which care provider they could go with. The provider was chosen for them according to which region they lived in.
- Not-for-profit organisations would usually run out of Home Care Packages allocated to their regions.
- Care recipients would have to go on a waiting list for the organisation(s) in their region while organisations in other regions may have had available packages that the consumer could not access.
Recent changes have been brought on by the Australian government to improve aged care as part of their strategy for all elderly people in Australia to enjoy a better quality of life. But there are still lots of problems in the system. As more reviews are conducted, hopefully, more positive changes will start to take shape. Consumer Directed Care will continue to put more control into the hands of aged care consumers with the following benefits:
- Your choice of care provider and greater say over the care you need and want
- Full transparency on how your Home Care Package funds are spent
- More focus on your goals, needs, and preferences
Transparency in funding
There are four levels of Home Care Packages for different levels of care needs. For each of these packages, government subsidies are paid to the care provider, not the consumer. In some cases, the aged care consumer may need to contribute part of it themselves depending on their income.
- Level 1: Support for people with basic care needs – approx. $10,271.10*
- Level 2: Support for people with low care needs – approx. $18,063.85*
- Level 3: Support for people with intermediate care needs – approx. $39,310.50*
- Level 4: Support for people with high care needs – approx. $59,593.55*
*The government contribution changes on 1 July every year; these figures are up to date as at 1 July 2023.
With Consumer Directed Care, recipients of Home Care Packages now get a full overview of how much funding their package provides and how it’s being spent. Every month, recipients get a breakdown of how their subsidy is being spent on care services along with any funds that haven’t been spent. At the end of each month, if there is any portion of the funds left over, it gets rolled over into the next month.
With excess funds rolled over, recipients have the option to add extra services to their care plan. Another advantage of having this transparency in funds is being able to compare the cost of services with other care providers. If you end up trying multiple care providers, you’ll be able to find out which one offers the best value for the service they provide.
Once a recipient is approved for a Home Care Package, they still have to wait for one to become available and allocated to them. This waiting period is at least 12 months for most consumers. On approval, recipients now get added to a national waiting list along with clear transparency over where they are on it.
More choice for those who matter the most
With a wide range of care providers to choose from, people now have more control over the type of care they receive and who provides it.
Private aged care providers can be more supportive than not-for-profit organisations when it comes to creating a care plan. During the process of care planning, a private aged care provider puts the care receiver at the centre of all decisions being made.
Private care providers take the time to listen to a person, identify their goals, and what they want out of a care service. The care receiver is in charge of the care services they get by being more involved in developing their own care plan to achieve their objectives.
How we can help
If you’re unsure of how to apply for a Home Care Package, we can help you out with the application process. Simply call us on 03 9827 8899. Our friendly team can talk you through everything you need to know about applying for a Home Care Package and what it can be used for.
One of the first steps to getting a Home Care Package is booking an independent assessment through My Aged Care. Calling the My Aged Care hotline will direct you to call centre staff that can answer your questions about Home Care Packages and book an independent assessment for you.
During this assessment, a health care assessor visits your home, has an open discussion with you, and identifies your needs and eligibility for aged care. If you have any questions about the application process for a Home Care Package, our team can answer them and guide you through the steps.
Call us on 03 9827 8899 to find out more about applying for a Home Care Package and how we can help you get started today.