A lot of people wonder what services they can fund with their Home Care Package. It’s a good question! There are many support services available. A good Provider can help you choose which services and items will help you to thrive at home.
The following services and items are accessible with Home Care Package funds as outlined by the government. It’s not an exhaustive list. Your circumstance is always considered.
What Services CAN I Access With my Home Care Package?
1. Care Services: this can include,
Personal assistance, including individual attention, individual supervision and physical assistance, with:
Activities of Daily Living
Personal assistance, including individual attention, supervision and physical assistance, with communication including assistance to address difficulties arising from impaired hearing, sight or speech or lack of common language as well as:
Assistance in using the telephone.
Nutrition, Hydration, Meal Preparation and Diet
Assistance can also include providing enteral feeding formula and equipment.
Management of Skin Integrity
Assistance in using continence aids and appliances and managing continence.
Mobility and Dexterity
Assistance in using the above aids.
2. Support Services: this can include,
Leisure, Interests and Activities
3. Clinical Services: this can include,
Access to Other Health and Related Services
What Can I NOT Get With My Home Care Package?
There are services and items that the government has excluded from Home Care Package funding. Therefore these are outside the scope of the Home Care Package Program and must not be included in a package for any of the four levels of care.
Services, goods or supports that people are expected to cover out of their general income throughout their life regardless of age, this excludes:
- General home services that were never, or are generally not completed independently prior to age-related functional decline, including home repairs/maintenance/specialist cleaning performed by a tradesperson or other licensed professional.
- Food (except as part of enteral feeding requirements or items listed under food for special medical purposes as per the Australia New Zealand Food.
- Standards Code – Standard 2.9.5). Further information on food is below under
- Meal services
- Home insurance
- Water, sewage, gas and electricity costs
- Private transport related costs including vehicle registration, vehicle repairs, vehicle insurance and petrol
- Local transit costs of public bus, ferry or train fares
- Funeral plans / insurance costs
- Pet care and associated costs such as pet food; registration; taxidermy, cremation
- Internet and telephone costs, exceptions include:
- Care recipients who are homeless or at risk of homelessness (as identified in a care recipient’s ACAT assessment) can use Home Care Package funds for the ongoing monthly charges to ensure connection with service providers
- Care recipients who require the internet or landline to support delivery of medication management, remote monitoring service or delivery of an included service on the phone can use Home Care Package funds to set-up telecommunications connections (e.g., to get internet connected)
- Beauty therapy (e.g., manicures) and hairdressing
- Cost of entertainment activities, such as club memberships and tickets to sporting events
- Travel and accommodation for holidays
- Supplies to participate in any activity, e.g. gardening or craft
- Using Home Care Package funds to pay for solicitors or accountants for maintaining care recipients’ personal affairs
- Funeral costs and funeral plans
- Gym or pool memberships/access costs when not prescribed for aged-related functional decline and monitored by health professional operating within their scope of practice
Accommodation costs, this excludes:
- Assistance with home purchase
- Mortgage payments
- Permanent residential care (subsidised or private) and residential respite (subsidised)
- Heating and cooling costs (installation and repairs)
- Whitegoods and electrical appliances (except items designed specifically for frailty such as a tipping kettle)
- Household furniture and furnishings:
- Lounge suites and recliners which do not support a care recipient’s mobility, dexterity and functional care needs and goals
- Other general household furniture such as coffee tables, wardrobes, and bookshelves.
- Massage chairs when not prescribed by treating medical practitioner and/or allied health professional
- General mattress and frame for bed (exceptions for pressure relieving mattress or mattress/frame for an electrical adjustable bed or hospital bed)
- Replacement/maintenance/servicing/cleaning of:
- Water tanks
- Solar panels
- Heating and cooling or hot water systems
- Swimming pools
- Home modifications or capital items that are not related to the care recipient’s ageing-related care needs, for example:
- Windows, roofs, pergolas, sunrooms, decking
- Home modifications that don’t support ageing safely e.g., non-accessible bathroom and kitchen modifications; non-standard fittings in accessible bathroom modifications (e.g., mosaic tiles)
- Home modifications requiring development applications
- Aesthetic modifications of any kind
- Repainting the home
- Major plumbing
- Emptying of septic tank; remedying sewage surcharge (matter for water company/insurer)
- Major electrical work, e.g., rewiring house
- Replacement of entire floor and floor coverings throughout the home unless safe passage for mobility equipment required or slip hazard reduction required, as recommended by a health professional for care recipients at risk of falls
- Replacement of foundation e.g., concrete/cement slab
- Significant changes to the floorplan of the home, such as adding a new bathroom or extension
- Extensive gardening services such as:
- Planting and maintaining crops, natives and ornamental plants
- The installation and/or maintenance of raised garden beds
- Compost heaps
- Watering systems
- Water features and rock gardens
- Tree removal
- Removal of garden beds
- Removal of shrubbery (unless preventing safe access and egress)
Payment of home care fees, this excludes:
- Co-payments for state/territory government funded programs, such as subsidised taxi vouchers and/or aids and equipment schemes
- Dentures, dentistry and dental surgery
- Prescription glasses or contact lenses
- Prostheses (e.g., artificial limb)
- Hearing aids available under the Hearing Services Program. Contact the Hearing Service Program (HSP) for guidance on hearing aid replacement and delegate approval for non-standard hearing aids. Exception if care recipient is not a pension concession card holder as Home Care Package may cover like for like of typical hearing aid covered by HSP in this case only.
- Continence aids if a participant in the CAPS program
Payment of fees or charges for care or services funded or jointly funded by the Australian Government, this excludes:
- Diagnostic imaging
- Natural therapies, including:
- Alexander technique
- Bowen therapy
- Pilates (except sessions supervised by an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist)
- Tai chi (except sessions supervised by a Chinese Medicine Practitioner, exercise physiologist or physiotherapist)
- Western herbalism
- Yoga (except sessions supervised by an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist)
- Payment for informal care – a Carer’s Payments is available to fund the support of family and friends
- Section 16.1 of the Home Care Packages Program Manual specifies more information about what ageing related programs can and cannot be accessed while receiving a Home Care Package
Payment for services and items covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), this excludes:
- Co-payments or gap fees, including for services covered by private health insurance
- Medications, vitamins and supplements (as well as items not covered by the PBS such as off-indication prescriptions, medicines not endorsed for listing by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) or medicines where the manufacturer has chosen not to list the product on the PBS
- Consultation/tests/surgery with medical practitioner (GPs and specialists)
- The only exception to this is a private appointment (i.e. not covered by MBS) with a GP to meet evidence requirements for the dementia and cognition supplement and oxygen and enteral feeding supplements
- Hospital costs; Ambulance cover
- Private health insurance premiums
Provision of cash debit cards or like payments to care recipients for any purpose, this excludes:
- Debit cards (unless the provider has rigorous systems in place to vet every payment and keep on file all receipts in accordance with the Records Principles 2014. Debit cards may pose issues for GST credits. Consult with the ATO for more information).
- Cash payments or gift vouchers/cards, including online vouchers and coupons
- Transfer of subsidy into care recipient or their family’s personal/business bank account without rigorous acquittal by provider of funds against receipts matched to the Home Care Agreement, care plan and individualised budget in accordance with the Records Principles 2014.
Employing family and friends, this excludes:
- Payment to families and friends for care services are typically a program exclusion. Family and friends may instead access the Carer’s Payment – https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/carer-payment
- Using subsidy to pay for family carers raises serious probity issues under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 under which the aged care special appropriation sits – generally this is an exclusion unless it is a thin market (i.e. rural and remote Australia; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and CALD populations) and the family member is especially qualified, does not live with the care recipient and the provider and family member (in their capacity as a personal care worker or health professional) have agreed a robust probity plan with the provider. It is a strict exclusion if the family member is already receiving a Carer’s payment.
Meal Services, this excludes:
- In relation to meal services and whether food can be included in a Home Care Package:
- Preparation and delivery of meals can be included
- The raw food component of those meals cannot be included, except in the case of enteral feeding.
- The Department has not mandated a standard split/ratio for the raw food component. This is a business decision for the company providing the meal services to calculate how much the raw food component is. Home care providers should discuss with the care recipient the amount of the raw food contribution, as well as how and who it is paid to, as part of the negotiation with the meals provider and the care recipient.