Home sweet home! | Just as well, in these uncertain times!
Home sweet home! | Just as well, in these uncertain times!
Gong Life Care Solutions’ main focus is on providing quality equipment designed with both users and carers in mind. Our products are unique, and assist safety, comfort, and independence in the home. See them on our website: https://gonglcs.com.au. We welcome enquiries from community members and health and allied health professionals.
We would firstly like to acknowledge how life is for Australians and for most of the world at present, in terms of responding to and living through the Covid-19 pandemic. It is worrying and difficult. Thank you to all our customers and suppliers who work in the health and aged care and disability areas. And in pharmacies, and supermarkets. And supply chains. You are very much appreciated, and we sincerely hope you, your families, and your clients/residents remain safe and healthy.
Home Sweet Home
Well this has taken on another layer of meaning lately! Hopefully “home” remains a safe haven for all of us in the weeks to come.
Just talking specifically about our older population – the majority by far continue to live at home, many without formal aged care services, despite some decline in their physical and cognitive health. They are mostly independent, or rely on family and friends, to varying degrees, to assist them. If their needs reach a point where formal aged care is required, they have the option to pay for it privately or seek government-subsidised care, or to do a mix of both. They can choose to continue to “age in place” in their own homes, and receive assistance there, rather than going to live in a nursing home where the assistance is, in principle, on hand continuously. Of the proportion of this older community staying at home, many are people are on a waiting list. Demand is high, and waiting time is long.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Interim Report (p 48) quotes data from the 2017_2018 financial year, showing that there were
- 847,534 people who received basic services provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme at some time during the year (entry level needs)
- 116,843 people who received support through a Home Care Package at some time during the year (complex needs), and
- 241,723 people who received permanent residential aged care at some time during the year
On the other hand, the report states (p 155) that as of June 2019, there were 119,524 people on the waiting list for an approved level of home care packages.
When the times comes
There comes a time when you or someone you care for, realizes that poor health or a crisis eg involving hospitalization, means it is time to seek out aged care services. Sometimes it’s at the urging of family, friends, doctors and hospitals. If money is no object, arrangements could be made directly with agencies or individuals who provide private, fee-for-service assistance in the home. Or you can seek government subsidised services through the My Aged Care contact centre (1800 200 422). (Your financial situation won’t affect your eligibility. But you will need a financial assessment to work out exactly how much you may be asked to contribute). Unfortunately, it is at this point, when the aged care system should be welcoming and easy to navigate, that people are met with a telephone and internet-based national aged care entry system called My Aged Care, that many people in their eighties and nineties find frightening, confronting and confusing. It is helpful if a family member or other support person can assist with getting this process under way.
What types of Government assistance are available? How can I apply?
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) helps senior Australians access entry-level support services to live independently and safely at home. If you’re having trouble with everyday tasks and feel that a little support could improve your health and wellbeing, CHSP could be right for you. This is practical help such as meal preparation, hygiene and self-care, help with medicines, chores, transport and even goods, equipment and assistive technology. A trained assessor from a Regional Assessment Service will visit you to assess your needs. Contact through My Aged Care 1800 200 422
(At present it is more likely that this assessment will be conducted over the phone, whereas in “normal times” it is a face to face session, and family or other support people are able to be present to assist).
Home Care Packages (HCP) are one of the ways that older Australians can access affordable care services to get some help at home. Note previous comment about waiting list and waiting times. They are designed for those with more complex care needs that go beyond what the Commonwealth Home Support Programme can provide. Examples include nursing, such as wound management or help with medicines; therapy services such as podiatry, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy; specialised support eg for vision, dementia; home maintenance and home modifications; and goods, equipment and assistive technology- this includes Items to help you get around or adapt e.g. providing crutches, walker/rollators walking frames, walking sticks and wheelchairs, providing mechanical devices for lifting, and so on.
Applying for a HCP involves making an appointment for a formal assessment which is conducted by a professional health or allied health worker, usually a registered nurse, social worker or other health care professional. (At present it is more likely that this assessment will be conducted over the phone, whereas in “normal times” it is a face to face session, and family or other support people are able to be present to assist).
The package level is based on need, and the package amounts in monetary terms are as below:
Home Care Package Levels
Package level Level of care needs
Level 1 Basic care needs – approximately $8,900 a year
Level 2 Low care needs – approximately $15,700 a year
Level 3 Intermediate care needs – approximately $34,000 a year
Level 4 High care needs – approximately $51,600 a year
Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
DVA has a range of in-home DVA administered programs for Veterans.
Call in office hours: 1800 555 254
Three programs are noted here:
Veterans' Home Care Program
DVA’s Veterans' Home Care (VHC) Program can assist Veterans to continue living in their homes. The Program provides a range of home care services designed to maintain health, wellbeing and independence.
To receive these services, the Veteran will need to be assessed by a VHC Assessment Agency as needing home care assistance.
Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP)
Veterans can access mobility aids or appliances to help you maintain independence in your home through the Rehabilitation Appliances Program.
Aids or appliances prescribed through the program can include:
- continence pads
- wheeled walkers
- beds (hospital)
- chairs (high back, lift)
- lifting hoists
- showering or toileting aids.
Community nursing provides clinical nursing and/or personal care services in your home by registered and enrolled nurses and support staff
Who comes in to my home for the in-home care ?
Trained home care workers provide care as per the needs established during the assessment. A home care worker is often referred to as a support worker, a personal care assistant, a home and community care worker, a care worker, or simply a carer. Most home care workers have a Certificate III or Certificate IV qualification in Aged Care/Ageing Support. They are employed by organisations whose business is providing services and personal care in the home. These organizations are governed by community-based not for profit agencies, faith-based organizations, or private companies. A care worker provides physical, social and emotional assistance to a person. This may include helping someone with their personal hygiene, housekeeping, shopping, or social activities. They work actively with elderly people, to maintain independence and safety in the home. Care workers refer to people they are caring for, as “clients.” They maintain close contact with their clients and family contacts to plan and carry out the care, to organise appointments, to make changes in services for clients, and to organise case conferences between other caregivers and agencies. They keep up-to-date client file notes, and write “personal centred care plans” in agreement with the client.
The Government-administered home care programs are means-tested, so the person receiving care may need to make a contribution towards the cost of care, based on an assessment of income and assets.
On-going social connectedness is hugely important for everyone. It helps to keep us physically and emotionally well. Being social is harder of course for people who are more confined to their home due to illness or mobility issues. It is currently even harder due to the restrictions related to the current coronavirus Covid-19 epidemic.
Care workers, in normal times, assist in linking clients to social activities in the community, and many places around Australia have the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) in place. This is an Australian Government-funded program, which recruits volunteers to visit older people in residential aged care or those in receipt of a Home Care package, who are socially isolated. These volunteers provide friendship and companionship through one-on-one visits. Volunteers from a culturally and linguistically diverse background are recruited, trained and supported in their role as visitors, and they are matched with people of the same cultural background. At present face to face visits are being severely curtailed, so most organizations are using telephone or video calls where possible to stay in touch with clients, carers and other professional providers.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for older Australians at home
(up to date as at the time of writing. Please check the government website - https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-older-australians as things are changing often in our current environment)
What if I need urgent assistance that cannot be provided by my current carer?
Older Australians can access short term home support services (such as meals or personal care) in an emergency without having had an aged care assessment. Assessments can also be conducted using tele-health rather than face-to-face where appropriate. Phone for advice from a local home care provider, a GP clinic, My Aged Care.
I have a Home Care Package - what does this mean for me at this time?
Consumers with Home Care Packages have flexibility with how they spend their funds to stay safe, healthy and independent in their home. The Australian Government will ensure home care providers have even greater support to meet the changing needs of clients as the virus situation unfolds. With support from the Australian Government, home care providers are working hard to meet people’s needs during the crisis.
The services you currently receive through your Home Care Package will continue. However, there may be some changes to the way service is delivered. For example, home care staff may change the way that personal care is done to limit person-to-person touch where possible, or wear masks and gloves where they may not have previously. If you are concerned about the way your current services are being delivered or would like to make changes to your services because of the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact your provider. You can also speak with your provider about changes to your usual services, such as arranging help to go to the shops or arranging your carer to shop on your behalf.
Specialised products for use in the home
If you are caring for yourself or someone else at home, and are interested in safer bathing or showering, getting around the house with a lightweight indoor rollator, or sitting more comfortably in bed or chair, talk to us about how our products can meet your needs.
Gong Life Care Solutions is an Australian owned and operated business.
- Neglect, The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Interim Report, Vol 1-1, https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/Pages/interim-report.aspx
Contact us on 1300 907 280, Tues to Fri, 8.00 am – 5.00 pm AEDT
We deliver free anywhere in Australia.
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