Renae Diggles

August 15, 2022

Understanding Home Care Packages

Renae Diggles

August 15, 2022

Government-subsidised home care packages can offer a higher level of support for older people who are living at home, with more complex needs. A home care package provides government funding for a package of care that helps ageing people to live in their homes for as long as possible.

The home care packages are based on a consumer-directed care framework. This means that the recipient of the package chooses the care and services to best meet their needs. It is intended to provide choice and flexibility when it comes to the care and support that is to be provided.

The Different Levels of Home Care Packages

A level 1 home care package supports those people with basic care needs. The current Government subsidy is $25.15 per day (values are subject to change).

Next, a home care package level 2 provides more funding than a level one package, to support people with low-level care needs. The current Government subsidy is $44.24 per day (values are subject to change).

For those people requiring more support at home, a home care package level 3 provides support to people with intermediate care needs. The current Government subsidy is $96.27 per day (values are subject to change).

Finally, the home care package level 4 is designed to support people at home with high-level care needs. The current Government subsidy is $145.94 per day (values are subject to change).

aged care worker cleaning dishes for elderly

Eligibility Criteria

To determine your eligibility for a Home Care Package, an assessment by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) is required.

You’ll also need to fall under one of the following categories:

• You’re an older person who requires coordinated services in order to remain in your own home.
• Or, you’re a younger person with a disability, dementia, or other special care needs that are not met through other available services.

The ACAT Assessment Process

Firstly, you’ll need to phone My Aged Care to arrange an assessment for aged care support services. A health professional can also submit a referral on your behalf. Contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or go to

Once the initial referral is placed with My Aged Care, somebody from the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will contact you to arrange a meeting. The meetings are typically conducted in person, at your home.

Prior to your assessment, consider putting together some relevant information including your Medicare card number, General Practitioner details, and any relevant Doctor referrals. Also, make a list of your concerns that you would like to discuss at the assessment. Also, be sure to make note of any support that you’re already receiving.

It’s important to mention that you are able to have a support person present during your meeting.

During the assessment, you’ll develop a support plan with the assessor. The support plan includes the care and services you require to best meets your current needs.

The assessor will then make a decision in regards to your eligibility to receive services, your care needs, and the level of support required to best meet your needs.

Once you’ve had a meeting with the Aged Care Assessment Team, you’ll receive the outcome of the assessment from My Aged Care via mail. If you’re eligible for services, you’ll receive a letter of approval.

If your circumstances change, you can contact My Aged Care at any time to receive a new assessment.

Home Care Packages – Types of Services

Here are some of the services that you could receive through a home care package. For a full list of services, contact your case manager, or My Aged Care.

Personal services such as personal hygiene (toileting, and dressing/ undressing), or support with mobilisation and communication.

Nutrition, hydration, meal preparation, and diet: (Assisting with meal preparation, using eating utensils, cutting up of meals, or feeding, meal delivery).

Continence management may include assistance in changing continence aids and appliances, transfers to commodes, bedpans, or urinals. This also includes assistance with catheters/ urinary drainage appliances and enemas.

Mobility and dexterity support can include the provision of mobility aids and mechanical lifting devices. It can also include pressure relieving mattresses and other mobility/ dexterity aids.

Nursing, allied health & therapy services include speech therapy, podiatry, occupational therapy, physiotherapy services, and other clinical services, as well as nursing care.

Transport & personal assistance may include assistance with grocery shopping, transport to health appointments, or assistance to attend social activities.

Management of skin integrity can include wound care and management, as well as skin emollients and creams.

Telehealth is video conferencing and digital technology, including remote monitoring, in order to increase one’s access to appropriate care

Assistive technology could include devices that assist you with mobility, communication, or your personal safety.

Aids and equipment include the provision of aids and equipment to assist a person to perform activities of daily living. To access these services, your “Home care agreement” must specify whether the equipment is leased, who owns the item, and who is responsible for the cost of maintenance and repairs.

elderly man talking with doctor via Telehealth

Will a Home Care Package Cost Me Anything?

The home care package subsidy is paid to an approved home care provider once you’ve entered into a home care agreement with them. It isn’t paid directly to you. While the subsidy contributes to the total cost of your care, it’s expected that you’ll contribute to the cost of your care through a basic daily fee, and in some cases an income-tested care fee too.

The Basic Daily Fee is calculated daily, and you pay the basic daily fee for every day you are receiving a home care package from the day your care starts, to the day your care ends. Your service provider may ask you to pay a basic daily fee, but not all providers are asking for this currently.

The Income-tested care fee (Form sa456) is different from the basic daily fee and is in addition to the basic daily fee. If you’re commencing a home care package, you’ll need to complete an Aged Care Fees Income Assessment form through Services Australia. This assessment is purely based on income. The amount of subsidy the Government pays to a provider is reduced by the maximum amount of income-tested care fee that the recipient can be charged.

Your service provider can also charge administration costs and case management fees. These fees are deducted from your home care package funds that the provider receives. Make sure that you’re aware of these fees before you sign your Home Care Agreement.

How Do I Arrange Services for My Home Care Package?

Arranging services for a home care package can be really confusing. We’ve listed a step-by-step guide to help navigate this:

  • Firstly, have an assessment from the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
  • Then, receive your letter of approval for a home care package, and other eligible services.
  • Automatically get placed in the national queue, and await the assignment of a home care package.
  • Receive the letter that assigns you to a home care package.
  • Search for a service provider to manage your home care package through My Aged Care.
  • Choose a provider and enter into a home care agreement with them. It’s recommended that you seek legal advice before entering into an agreement.
  • The service provider’s care manager will meet with you to develop a care plan with you.
  • Services will commence following the signing of the home care agreement, and the development of the care plan.

For further information, you can go to or free call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. If you’re looking for more information about aged care options, take a look at the Retirement Now Aged Care page.

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