As we get older we need additional services or supports to maintain a quality of life. The extent and need for these services can creep up slowly with a slow decline in health or mobility or can be a sudden change after an accident or significant health incident.
Understanding your financial situation and accepting that changes are needed can be difficult, but finding the right services to meet your needs shouldn’t be.
But how do you find the right service with over 4,800 aged care services including residential aged care and home care providers in the sector. In fact the aged care sector is one of Australia’s largest services industries, employing over 366,000 paid workers and supported by 68,000 volunteers. With such a large sector finding a place to start let alone the right place may seem daunting.
At Nursed Care we can help you navigate the alternatives and find the right options when you or a family member needs to access in-home care services or move into a residential facility for aged care.
Understanding your options when it comes to aged care services
Aged care services vary significantly in nature and outcome, having a better understanding gives you the power to pick the specific services that deliver what you need and meet your own personal care preferences.
What is in-home care?
In-home care services are support services delivered to you at home as part of a package of care. This package of care is designed around maintaining your autonomy and independence and enabling you to stay in your own home for longer. We know that enabling seniors to maintain their independence leads to a better quality of life.
In-home services recognise all the things that you can do to care effectively for your own personal needs and home and provide specific assistance for the few things that make life difficult. This can start out as a single service for a specific task, additional services can be added if your need for assistance increases.
The Australian Government, through My Aged Care funds the delivery of in-home care mainly through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and personalised Home Care Packages. Services are delivered by an aged care service provider at your home. Depending on your eligibility services may be fully subsidised, meaning you won’t have to pay.
What is facility care?
Facility care is a residential service if you are no longer able to live independently or look after your daily personal needs. Your care requirements may be complex and ongoing or health and mobility issues may be a severe limitation and you need assistance provided throughout the day, every day. Facility care is delivered through residential aged care facilities also known as aged care facilities or nursing homes.
Residential aged care facilities can offer a range of specialised accommodation options, daily meals, laundry and personal and mobility care, clinical services and care, allied health therapy and social activities to meet your personal needs.
They are staffed by by trained professionals, support workers and clinicians so they can offer round-the-clock services onsite. In 2023 there with over 2,600 accredited facilities across Australia with 832 in NSW.
Residential aged care facilities can be run by not-for-profit, private or government providers with the not-for-profit providers running 57% of residential aged care facilities.
The Australian Government subsidises residential aged care facilities that are approved and accredited by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. This means that some of the costs may be covered, with an income and means assessments determining how much you need to pay
How do I access in-home care services?
You need to take part in an assessment to determine if you are eligible for either the Home Care Support Programme or a Home Care package. This will include someone meeting with you at your home to better understand your health, home environment, routines and the daily tasks that you need assistance to do. This information is used to identify the level and types of assistance needed.
Home Support - entry-level assistance
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme, also called Home Support funds entry-level support services that are designed to keep older people living independently and active in their community. These are specific support services that are delivered by a range of providers.
Services can include things such as transport if you are unable to drive, meal preparation, assistance with personal hygiene, nursing care, physiotherapy and other therapies to help you stay mobile, help around the home and garden, home modifications and equipment or tools that can assist in keeping you safe, active and independent.
Home Care package - for more complex care needs
Home Care packages are for more complex care needs and provide funding for services that can’t be met by Home Support.
An assessment is completed in your home to determine if you are eligible. If you are you will be able to access one of four levels of funding which are based on the complexity of your needs. This funding is set aside on your behalf and used to pay for the services you need.
Services provided through a Home Care package are more responsive to your requirements and tend to be needed on a more regular basis. Once your level of assistance is determined you, your family and your service provider can look at selecting the services you want.
With the range of service providers in the sector, you can pick one that meets your personal preference as well as providing the services you need. You will also have a care worker to help you coordinate and manage your service plan.
How do I secure a place in a residential aged care facility?
You also need to be assessed to determine eligibility for a government-subsidised place in a residential aged care facility. You will be assessed by an independent assessor to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for a place and separately to determine the fees you will need to pay.
The income and means assessment does not impact your eligibility for a place only the amount you will need to pay to cover the service.
You will receive a confirmation letter after the assessment if you are eligible for a government-subsidised place. Once you have received this confirmation you can look for a residential aged care service to move into.
You will need to compare the services and costs of each provider with fees for accommodation and other services differing. With so many providers it can take some time to find the right one
Important factors for you to think about when looking at care solutions
When looking at the different options available you will need to consider a number of factors that will inform each assessment process. It’s important that you understand what you can and can’t do for yourself and communicate this with your family and the assessors.
If you understate the severity or impact you may miss out on a great service, which could ultimately compromise your independence and safety in your own home.
Factors for you to consider include:
can you easily tend to your own personal care and hygiene?
are you able to maintain routine tasks around the home such as laundry, meal preparation and cleaning
is your physical environment a barrier to your mobility or independence?
are you taking prescribed medications when needed
do you need clinical assistance to tend to chronic or other health needs?
What type of care is right for you?
Only you and your family members will know whether you are able to continue living independently with some assistance or need to move into the residential care model of service. There are benefits to both approaches depending on your circumstances.
Staying in your own home, with your current lifestyle but easier
In-home care services enable you to stay in a familiar environment and receive the services that support you to live independently. Both Home Support and Home Care packages will provide you with personalised care in your own home.
This means less disruption and change and remaining in your own home for longer and maintaining important long-term connections in your community. At Nursed Care we will happily show you the range of services that may be available to you to remain at home, independent and active in the community.
In-home care services can adapt to a major life change
If your circumstances change suddenly and you find that you need additional assistance but still aren’t ready to give up your independence, it’s likely that there will be in-home services that will be able to help.
While you will likely still need to be reassessed, you already have the knowledge and relationships in the aged care system to help you along the way.
Nursed Care can help you in applying for reassessment and in looking for new services.
Residential care facilities provide round-the-clock care
With specialised accommodation, access to clinicians, allied health professionals and care workers residential aged care facilities will ensure you have access to urgent assistance at any time. This is particularly important if you have complex or high acuity care needs.
Residential care is an established local community
An important factor for many people when staying in their own homes is not just familiar surroundings but the long-term connections in their local community. Many older people find they are a relative stranger in their neighbourhoods which can be lonely and isolating. A residential aged care facility will offer social programs, on-site activities and new connections with people from your age group.
Complex care and future care planning
Both in-home care and residential care provide you with the service scope to increase the support and assistance you can access. This means that you have some certainty and ability to plan where services may come from if your care needs become a more complex issue.
At Nursed Care we will take the time to discuss the full range of services to meet you possible future care requirements.
Short-term residential care as a support services
If you receive in-home care already short-term residential care may be a great option in a range of circumstances. Short-term residential care provides you with a time-limited accommodation service usually through an aged care service provider. This will mean relocating temporarily and receiving services from on-site clinicians, allied health professionals and care support workers.
There are three main types of short-term residential care and you need to undergo an assessment to determine your eligibility.
At Nursed Care we can discuss the short-term residential care options with you so you know what’s available and we would be happy to help when it comes time to apply for an assessment.
Short-term restorative care
Short-term restorative care provides you with residential care services for a limited time to stop or slow down physical or mental deterioration that may compromise your independence. Short-term restorative care can ultimately lead to you living independently for longer by allowing you to recover fully supported.
Transitional care is available to people who have been admitted to hospital and are due to be discharged. After some time as a patient, you may not be physically or mentally ready to return straight to independent living. Transitional care is a stepping stone to get you back on your feet.
Respite care provides short-term care for people while their regular carer is unavailable or absent. This enables your carer to take a break or tend to personal matters, but still ensures you receive the care you need.
We can help you to assess and choose the right option for you
No matter whether you are just starting on your journey with accessing support or you already have an existing support package Nursed Care is able to help you find the best options to meet your needs. An exciting and purposeful phase of life is waiting, let us help you get there.