Have your home-based aged care needs changed?

review home care plan

A reassessment is key to reviewing home care plans

When your senior loved one has had their home care assessment and arranged home-based aged care services – via government-funded services or private home care – you might think ‘That’s it, it’s locked in’. Yet, over time, their needs change, and they need more or different services. What then? They won’t receive additional services automatically. It’s up to you or your senior loved one to organise additional in-home care. A new aged care assessment will help identify the services to meet new needs, and is required for approval for a Home Care Package.

A change in circumstances leads to new aged care needs

Have any of these things happened to your senior loved one?

  • Had an operation
  • Dementia has worsened
  • Had some falls
  • Experienced any other physical/mental health changes

Has it been a couple of years since the last home-based aged care assessment took place?

Any of these events can mean a senior’s need for home care services is different to when they were initially assessed.

It’s time to review your home care plans and seek additional support or even a government-funded Home Care Package.

New needs could mean different types of home care services are required

An aged care assessment is only going to help determine a person’s need for services at one point in time. Later on, a senior’s needs might be better supported with different home care services. It’s beneficial to have another aged care assessment done to identify other helpful services and / or be approved for a Home Care Package.

There are two types of assessments provided by My Aged Care:

RAS – Regional Assessment Service. These are assessments to determine the need/eligibility for ‘entry level’ services funded under the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) such as cleaning and shopping assistance. Such services do not come with case management and RAS cannot approve for a home care package.
ACAS – Aged Care Assessment Service. This is generally what is referred to when people talk about an Aged Care Assessment. Seniors need to have one of these assessments in order to be approved for a Home Care Package and / or have pre-approval paperwork for an aged care facility.

Has your senior loved one had an ACAS assessment? Sometimes this isn’t sought out because seniors and their families don’t realise it’s a different assessment to RAS.

Aged care assessments take account of a senior’s current health status, physical, mental and social needs to determine what services will benefit them.

If a senior’s circumstances have changed, this could give rise to new needs which could be met by different home care services.

The trouble is, seniors and families might not realise they now need different services. Especially as the changes might have occurred gradually over time.

Accordingly, seniors could be eligible for new government-funded home care services. (You can always pay for your preferred services privately if you want additional or a different type of care not offered.)

Services aren’t locked in forever, you just need a new aged care assessment

Have you assumed that once your senior loved one had their home-based aged care assessment, that was it, they’re in the system and they just use the services that have been set?

That’s understandable, given there is a set amount of support available with government-funded services… but this is always changing!

There aren’t any automatic updates to your suite of home care services. But there is a provision to adjust your home care services to your changing needs.

Did you know most self-managed home care package providers will cover the cost of a Holistic Aged Care Assessment carried out by Empower Aged Care? Clients who self-manage their home care package may miss out on a comprehensive in-home assessment of their needs by a health professional. Book now so we can make sure you are making the most of your funding and are linked to the right services for your needs.

How home care services can be changed to suit changing needs

An example of the difference it can make to review home care plans to account for changing needs, was when we met 'Richard', a 79-year-old gentleman living with his wife 'Jan' in Frankston, Melbourne.

In 2017, a geriatrician diagnosed Richard with mixed Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body Dementia. Jan was Richard’s full-time carer as he could no longer prepare a meal, needed prompts to take his medications, and assistance with showering and dressing. Richard could be disoriented when in unfamiliar places and he could be verbally distressed when he didn't understand information.

Richard had an ACAS assessment via My Aged Care in 2018 and he was approved for residential and respite care in an aged care facility. No approvals were granted for home care services at that time. Jan received some cleaning assistance from the local council, but didn’t have any other support. Their daughter Alice assisted as much as she could, but was also running a small business.

With Richard’s consent, we met with Jan and her daughter Alice to advise on the best action.

1.  We arranged an ACAS review for a home care package and for home care services under the CHSP program, including:

  • In-home respite (a carer to be with Richard at home so Jan could have a break)
  • A dementia nurse
  • A continence nurse
  • Social visiting
  • Day Centre
  • Podiatry (could also be covered under a GP care plan)

2.  We recommended Jan register herself as a carer via the Carer Gateway to access additional in-home respite if needed and for ongoing advice from a carer support worker.
3.  We advised about private services if needed and information about the Dementia Australia advice line.
4.  We advised on managing incontinence, dementia and understanding how residential care could be accessed if required.

Jan and her daughter felt relieved to understand what support options were available at home and when a higher level of support might be required in an aged care home.

Do you need to review your home care needs?

You might have sought out home care services when it looked like your senior loved ones were having more difficulty with the things they used to enjoy, or in order to aid recovery from an illness or injury. Getting the services started would have brought you relief and peace of mind that things are easier now.

But time’s moved on, and if that feeling has been replaced by more stress and tension, things are starting to get more difficult again, then it might be time to revisit the services your senior loved one is getting. Could more be done to help them live well at home for longer?

It’s not just about a sudden change in health status, like a fall or an illness. For healthy ageing, it can benefit your senior and family’s ongoing wellbeing to periodically review aged care needs and the need for home care services, to ensure you’re making the most of the help available.

How will an independent home care advocate make this process easier?

At Empower Aged Care Consulting our role is to meet with you at home to complete a comprehensive review of your needs with our Holistic Aged Care Assessment. We then recommend what help would benefit you most to remain well and stay at home and arrange it all! Don’t worry about trying to work out the ‘system’ because we will simplify it for you.

We will:

  • complete a referral to My Aged Care
  • liaise with My Aged Care on your behalf to ensure you receive the right assessment and are approved for the right services
  • also liaise with service providers to get home care services started.

If this sounds like something you or your loved one need then book in for a Holistic Aged Care Assessment via our contact page or by calling 0404 444 985.


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