Debunking myths and misinformation about in-home care

Discover the truth about common myths and misinformation about in-home care, and learn how to make informed decisions for yourself or a loved one with insights from In My Place SA.

WORDS: Jennifer Holmes, In My Place SA

It can be a harrowing process to wrap your head around getting in-home care in place for yourself or a loved one. Often this is done by a family member or loved one in a time of crisis.

The process of getting in-home care is made no easier by myths and misinformation – not just circulating in the community, but also amongst health professionals and sometimes those working within the aged care industry itself.

Let’s look at a few common myths and misconceptions about in-home care.

1. ‘I am not eligible’

The only criteria for eligibility to be assessed for funded aged care services is that you are over 65 (or over 50 for Indigenous Australians) and that you are having difficulty performing tasks that you used to be able to do.

2. ‘I need a referral’

Anyone can refer themselves or a loved one for an assessment. All referrals are managed by My Aged Care and can be made over the phone or via their website.

3. ‘I am a self-funded retiree – it will cost too much’

Whilst home care packages are income tested, entry level services via the Commonwealth Home Support program are not income-tested. All persons approved for entry level services have access to these services at a subsidised hourly rate.

4. ‘I need an assessment to access aged care services’

Assessments via My Aged Care provide access to subsidised supports. If obtaining a subsidy is not the primary concern, private services are available widely and can be put in place almost immediately.

5. ‘Use it or Lose it – if I am offered a home care package and I don’t take it up I will lose it’

When you receive an offer for a home care package you are given a 56 day period in which to find a provider and put it in place. This can be extended by a further 28 days if required by contacting My Aged Care.

Basically, the 56-day period is asking you to act on your offer. If you do not want the package now it can be offered to the next person in the queue. It keeps the queue rolling.

You do not have to take up the offer at this time. If you do not, you do not ‘lose it’. Your assignment sits in the system and you can ask My Aged Care to reissue the package if the time comes that you do need it. It can take a few weeks, but nowhere near the months it took initially.

Why might you want to pass on a home care package that you have waited so long for?

  • You are under no obligation to transition from Commonwealth Home Support to a home care package, particularly if it results in disadvantage. Your current level of service may exceed the amount that could be provided within the finite home care package budget. It is good to understand the pros and cons of each funding model prior to making the jump
  • High costs for part pensioners or self-funded retirees may make it financially detrimental compared to other service models or even private care costs
  • You are waiting for Centrelink financial assessments, or other changes in financial position such as selling a home prior to finalising costs
  • Due to cognitive decline, or hospitalisation, the letter just got missed

So, don’t panic. Take your time, be informed and make the choice that’s right for you. The package will be there when you need it – when and if it is your best option.

At In My Place SA we pride ourselves on knowing how the system works, and after a thorough needs assessment will put together a plan for you or your loved one to use available services and funding to their best and highest use.

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