Changes to support and care services for Australian seniors

From 1 July 2015 several changes will be introduced to the support and care services provided for older people who prefer to continue to live independently in their own homes but need help with daily tasks. Help and care that may be provided include domestic assistance, social support, meals, therapy services, transport, personal care, nursing, etc.

The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) will be launched adopting an approach based on the concepts of wellness and 'reablement'.

It will bring together the services provided by four current funding schemes:

  • Home and Community Care (HACC)
  • National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP)
  • Assistance with Care and House for the Aged (ACHA)
  • Day Therapy Centres

CHSP will provide entry level services for people with very basic ongoing needs or those requiring more intensive support for a short period of time. The emphasis is on supporting clients to recover function and regain / develop their own abilities as much as possible: doing things with the client, not for the client.

Anyone requiring services will need to contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, a national call centre that will screen the clients and their support needs, and will refer them directly to a service provider, or to a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) if necessary. The RAS will conduct face-to-face assessment and discuss the client's goals and refer to the relevant services.

My Aged Care features information resources on this and all other Commonwealth-funded aged care services, and is being developed to include more comprehensive service searching facilities.

For those with higher support and care needs an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) may determine eligibility for a Home Care Package, as it occurs today. From 1 July 2015, however, all Home Care Packages must be delivered on a consumer directed care basis. Home Care Today provides information and resources that help the older person or their representatives to understand how home care packages work when they are provided using a consumer directed care (CDC) approach.

Residential aged care reform took place in 2013-14 and no major changes are expected for this year.

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