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The disability support services industry is always changing, and NDIS business owners are finding new avenues to expand their offerings and cater to a wider range of individual needs. One such avenue is providing home care packages (HCP), a vital component of the aged care sector. Here, we’ll delve into the fundamentals of home care packages, exploring their significance, benefits and the steps NDIS providers can take to branch out into this area.

How home care packages work

Home care packages are tailored solutions designed to provide the elderly or other individuals with special needs the support they need to continue living independently in their homes. They take a person-centred approach, ensuring services are customised to suit each individual’s unique requirements. Home care packages cater to various levels of care needs, from Level 1 (basic care) to Level 4 (high-level care), with each level offering a different suite of possible services.

Level 1 – Basic care needs

The foundation of the home care packages system is designed for individuals with basic care requirements. This level typically suits those who require minimal assistance with daily tasks. These may include assistance with shopping, transportation and meal preparation. Individuals with Level 1 needs receive around 2 hours of weekly home care assistance.

Level 2 – Low-level care

Packages at Level 2 address a broader range of care needs, accommodating individuals with slightly more complex requirements. Services within this level may include additional housekeeping or garden maintenance support, personal care or help with basic assistive technology. Those with Level 2 needs generally receive 3-4 hours of weekly home care.

Level 3 – Intermediate care 

Level 3’s packages cater to those who need a higher degree of care and support, which may include assistance with tasks around the home in addition to nursing care, medication management or nutritional support. They may also receive access to allied health services such as physiotherapy. Individuals with Level 3 needs may require between 7 and 9 hours of assistance each week.

Level 4 – High-level care

The top level of the home care package hierarchy, Level 4, provides a comprehensive solution for elderly individuals with complex care needs. This level may include support for continence management, vision or hearing impairment or dementia, with around 10 to 13 hours of support each week.

Home care package budget and management

When offering home care packages, it is important to understand the financial aspects of the service. The Australian Government offers subsidies to eligible individuals, and clients may also contribute toward the cost of their care. As a provider, you’ll be responsible for carefully managing the allocated budget to ensure that the client receives services that are both high quality and that fulfil their individual needs. This clearly outlines how funds will be utilised across personal care, nursing, home maintenance and transport services.

Differences between home care packages and NDIS

NDIS services differ primarily from home care packages because of their client base. While NDIS services cater to individuals with disabilities, home care packages are designed to support the elderly who require assistance with independent living. Each serves a distinct demographic, but NDIS providers can leverage their expertise to become a home care business.

Home Care Packaged support worker and elderly person

How to become a home care package provider

There are several important considerations to consider when becoming a home care package provider. These include the following:

Taking the necessary steps

Your business must take several steps to be eligible for Australian Government subsidies. First, you must become an approved Home Care Packages Program provider. Approved providers receive and manage subsidies on behalf of the person receiving aged care, are responsible for delivering quality care services, and manage care recipients’ fees and payments. You will also need to understand your responsibilities regarding meeting quality standards, managing funds properly and using a consumer-directed care approach. Each home care service will need to be registered with the Department of Health and Aged Care, and you will also need to register with My Aged Care and set up your service provider portal. Finally, you will need to register for online claiming with Services Australia.

Meeting regulatory requirements

Becoming a home care package provider involves meeting certain legal and regulatory requirements. The government provides detailed home care package guidelines and an operational manual, which will give you a comprehensive understanding of what’s expected from home care package providers.

Organisational and administrative considerations

In order to offer seamless home care services, establishing a clear organisational structure is key. This structure should facilitate efficient service delivery, encompassing everything from client intake and assessment to budget management and reporting. Leveraging dedicated tools like aged care and HCP software can greatly streamline administrative processes.

Workforce and staffing

Quality care hinges on having a dedicated and skilled workforce. Hiring compassionate professionals who are not only experienced but whose values align with those of your business is crucial. Implement robust recruitment strategies and invest in continuous training and development to ensure your team remains adept at providing the best possible care to your clients.

Opening the door to home care packages

By familiarising yourself with the intricacies of home care packages, managing budgets effectively and meeting regulatory requirements, you can take the necessary steps toward establishing an area of your business that caters to Australia’s elderly population. Expanding your business and diversifying your offering to incorporate home care packages will enable you to make a difference in the lives of more individuals in need.

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