A new year is often a time when we look ahead and make plans for the coming year. It’s also a time when older people or their families begin to realise that they may need more help at home.
With a growing waiting list for home care services, if the thought even crosses your mind that help around the home could be in your future the time to act is now.
According to Envigor General Manager Alicia Wooding, an all too common situation is that people put off going through the process of getting assessed to get a home care package and are then forced to start the process when they already have high care needs and high carer stress.
“We often come across people who have been coping okay at home with the support of a family carer, but when a health crisis hits and they need higher level care beyond what their family member can provide they are faced with a long wait for a home care package,” says Alicia.
“The wait for the higher level care packages can be about 12 to 18 months which leaves many people living at home without the care they need.”
What is an ACAT assessment?
To be approved for a home care package, you will need to undergo an ACAT assessment. This assessment is carried out to understand your care needs and establish the care level you’re entitled to. Care packages are available in four levels – Level 1 for the lowest care needs up to Level 4 for high care.
The in-home assessment will ask questions about your needs around the home, medical issues and any social, emotional, cognitive needs you may have. The assessment usually takes around an hour and family or friends can be present to support you. Your assessor may also ask you permission to talk to your doctor to discuss your medical history.
When to get an ACAT assessment?
Alicia says getting started with the home care process when you first begin to find it harder to manage at home is a good idea.
“Our advice is to make the call to My Aged Care when you are requiring extra help to do the things you used to be able to do yourself.”
“It could be that you’re finding it hard to clean or maintain your property or that you need extra help with transportation. You may just be finding that your mobility and other health issues are starting to make it hard to get out and socialise. Home care packages can help with all of these areas.
“From the initial call to My Aged Care it can take up to six weeks to get an appointment for an ACAT assessment and then another two weeks to get your letter that will let you know what level of care package you’re eligible for.”
Alicia says that even though you’ve been approved for a home care package, you’ll then enter the queue until a package becomes available.
“It’s important to understand that you will probably be faced with a wait – especially for those higher level packages. Starting the process early can help you get in the system and start getting some help, even if it’s on a lower level package initially.”
What to do while you’re waiting for a home care package
Waiting for your home care package to come through can be a frustrating experience, but Alicia says there are some ways you can ensure you are receiving support while you wait.
“Looking into private home care services can be a good interim measure if you need help at home. Home care providers can offer fee for service assistance so you only pay for the care and services you need. Many often offer short term care too.
“This is a good way to establish a relationship with a service provider and will ensure a seamless transition when your package comes through.
“The waiting period can also be used to shop around and decide on a home care provider.”
How to get help with ACAT assessments
The My Aged Care system can be confusing so don’t feel you’ve got to go through it alone. Envigor can help walk you through your home care options and assist you in applying for an ACAT assessment and help support you while you wait for your package.