Accessing aged care services

The way aged care services are delivered in Australia is changing. This page explains these changes and how they may affect you.

Last Updated 28 April 2017

Aged care services in Australia

There are many changes happening in the Australian aged care system. Support is becoming more tailored to the needs of individual service users, and more service users are having to contribute to the costs of their support, if they can afford it.

This page contains some general information about aged care services and where to find out more. It is aimed at family members and friends caring for a person aged 65 years and over.

You can also download our fact sheet Accessing Aged Care Services here.

The Australian Government has established My Aged Care as a ‘one stop shop’ for information on aged care services in Australia. For more specific information about aged care services and what may be available for the person you care for, contact My Aged Care using the information below:

My Aged Care
1800 200 422 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat)
www.myagedcare.gov.au

How to access aged care services
Diagram 

       The Australian Aged Care System fact sheets (Multicultural Access Project Network)

Carers NSW Carer Support Officers can also discuss your caring situation and recommend services for you and the person you care for. You can contact a Carer Support Officer using the information below:

Carers NSW Carer Line
1800 242 636

Support to stay at home

As the person you care for grows older, they may need more help with day-to-day tasks or health care. There are two different programmes that support older people to continue living at home:

  • The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) can assist people aged 65 years and over with basic support such as cleaning, showering, shopping, meals, transport and home maintenance. To access the CHSP you need to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat) or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au.
     
  • My Aged Care will register you and may refer you to a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) provider. The RAS provider will send someone to conduct a home support assessment to find out exactly what help you and the person you care for need at home.        
  • A Home Care Package (HCP) is a more intensive, long-term package of aged care services to help people aged 65 years and over with higher care needs. These packages are ‘Consumer Directed’, meaning that you and the person you care for have a say in what is included in the package and how support is delivered. To access a HCP you need to call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat) or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au.

    My Aged Care will register you and may refer you to an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). The ACAT representative will talk to you about your current situation and assess and approve your eligibility to receive Australian Government-subsidised aged care services. You may be approved as eligible for either a low-level care (level 1 or 2) or a high-level care (level 3 or 4) package.

    For more information on HCPs, click on the links below:

    Five steps to accessing a Home Care package
    You can order a hard copy by calling the Carer Line on 1800 242 636 or the Department of Social Services National Mailing and Marketing team on 1300 131 616.

    Home Care Today website

    Your Guide to New Choices in Home Care (available in 11 languages)
    You can order a hard copy by calling the Carer Line on 1800 242 636 or COTA on (03) 9909 7910.

    Home Care Packages Programme: Information for consumers transitioning to consumer directed care (CDC)
    You can order a hard copy by calling the Carer Line on 1800 242 636 or the Department of Social Services National Mailing and Marketing team on 1300 131 616. 
  • February 27 changes to Home Care Packages:

    On the 27th of February 2017 Home Care Packages will follow the consumer. This means you will have more choice over who provides the services within the package and greater opportunities to negotiate the terms of your home care agreement. For more information about these changes see the factsheets below. 

   Introduction to Home Care Changes fact sheet

   Increasing Choice in Home Care fact sheet

   Consumer Directed Care fact sheet 

   Overview of Home Care Packages video

   Increasing Choice in Home Care video

   Home Care Package Service Finder video

End of life care at home

If you are caring for someone who is nearing the end of their life, there are many different types of aged care services that can give you the extra support at home that you may need during this difficult time. Examples include nursing care, help around the house and counselling.

For more information how to access end of life care services call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat) or visit http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/help-home/end-life-care-home.

Transition care

Transition care is for older people who have been in hospital and need support to recover and make a decision about the best place to live in the longer term. The Transitional Aged Care Program offers 6-12 weeks of therapy provided at home or in another facility. The person you care for will need to be assessed and approved as eligible by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) while they are still in hospital.

For more information on transition care, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat) or at www.myagedcare.gov.au.

Residential aged care

If the needs of the person you care for can no longer be met through home care services, residential aged care may be worth considering. Residential aged care facilities (often called ‘aged care homes’) offer both short stay support (called ‘residential respite’) and longer term or permanent support. Staff can help the person you care for with day-to-day tasks (e.g. cleaning, cooking, laundry), personal care (e.g. dressing, grooming, going to the toilet) and 24-hour nursing care (e.g. wound care, catheter care).

For more information how to access residential aged care call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat) or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au.

The following resource also provides further information on residential aged care:

Five steps to entry into an aged care home
You can order a hard copy by calling the Carer Line on 1800 242 636 or the Department of Social Services National Mailing and Marketing team on 1300 131 616.

10 Questions To Ask series
This series of leaflets has been designed to increase consumer awareness with 10 questions on a range topics related to choosing an aged care home.

Respite for carers

Respite care (also known as ‘short-term care’) is a form of support for you and the person you care for. It gives you the opportunity to take a break from the caring role while the person you care for continues to receive the support they need. Respite care may be given informally by family, friends or neighbours, or by formal respite services.

Respite can help carers to continue caring for longer by giving them time to attend to their own health and wellbeing, spend time with other family members and friends and do tasks they don’t have time for when they are caring.

Respite care can be arranged for a few hours, a few days or even for longer periods, depending on your needs, the needs of the person you care for, your eligibility and what services are available in your area. It can happen in the home of the person you care for or at facilities such as an overnight respite cottage, a day centre or residential care facility.

For more information about respite, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat) or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au.

Flexible respite services for people with dementia and their carers

Problems and complaints

If you or the person you care for have a problem with aged care services, it is important that you talk with your aged care service provider first. Most of the time, issues can be addressed and resolved by the provider directly. However, if your concerns and complaints cannot be resolved there are services available to help.

  • The Seniors Rights Service NSW is an advocacy service for people living in aged care homes or receiving home care support in NSW. They offer free and confidential advice and information to aged care service users and their families and carers about their rights and responsibilities when accessing aged care services.

    Seniors Rights Service NSW

    1800 424 079 (9am-4:30pm, Mon-Fri)

  • From 1 January 2016, the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner provides a free service for anyone to raise their concerns about the quality of care or services being delivered to people receiving aged care services funded by the Australian Government, including services provided in the home.

    Aged Care Complaints Commissioner

    1800 550 552 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri)

Have your say

  • Carers NSW Policy Team is interested in hearing your experiences as the carer of an older person. We do not advocate for individuals, but we can use carers’ stories to help us advocate with the NSW and Australian Governments to improve aged care services for all carers of older people. If you want to share your concerns, ideas or experiences about aspects of the aged care system that impact on carers, you can fill out our Policy Advice Form at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/policy_advice_form

    You can also contact us using the information below.

            Carers NSW Policy Team

            (02) 9280 4744
           
policy@carersnsw.org.au

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