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Where should you begin and what does it all mean?

Published: Friday 3rd January, 2020

It can often be difficult to figure out where to begin and to navigate the maze that is 'Aged Care Services'.  Below are questions we are often asked that will hopefully make your navigation a little easier and set you on course for a smooth ride.

The first step is to visit  My Aged Care or call them on  1800 200 422. They will ask for your Medicare number, your age, and questions about where you live. The age criterion is 65 years or older, or 50 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The call centre staff will ask what you are able to do, what you need help with, and if you have people to help you. They will tell you whether you are eligible for services and if so, they will organise for an assessor to visit you at home.

Should I call My Aged Care to register if I don’t need support yet?
Generally, you should only call My Aged Care if you need support now. Although there can be a wait for services, the staff can only work out what services you need when you are ready to use them. However, people sometimes wait until they are struggling before seeking support, so don’t leave it until you are in great difficulty!

What is the difference between a Commonwealth Home Support (CHSP) service and a Home Care Package?
The CHSP (sometimes called Home Support) is for people who need a small amount of assistance to remain safely in their own home, usually an hour or two a week or fortnight. For example, you may need help to look after your garden, or to do your washing or cleaning. For this type a care you’ll be assessed at home by a Regional Assessment Service (RAS), and you’ll contribute a relatively small amount to the cost, if you can afford it. The amount is decided by the service provider.
Home Care Packages are for people who need more support – such as home nursing and help with cleaning, meals and showering. You’ll be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) at home, and they’ll decide what Level package is suitable (Level 1 – 4). You’ll be asked to complete a form for the Department of Human Services to work out how much you’ll pay towards your package. Your package will include some ‘care management’ to coordinate the different services you might need.

What do I do once I’ve been assessed and I get a letter to say I’m eligible for services?
The letter will tell you what type of service you’re eligible for, and what level of service. If you’ve been assessed as eligible for CHSP, you may be referred directly to a service provider. Otherwise your letter will have a referral code for the service(s) you need, and you can contact a provider you like and ask them if they can give you that service.
If you’re eligible for a Home Care Package, you will be placed in a National Queue until a package is available. While you wait for your package, you can begin to look for a service provider in your local area, and talk to people you know to see what they would recommend. The My Aged Care website has tools to help you look for services and work out how much you might pay for your package, as well as lists of questions to ask before you make a decision. Once you are assigned a package and signed an agreement with your chosen provider, it will be lodged with that provider and your services will begin.

COTA Information Hubs

You can get help using the My Aged Care website, calling My Aged Care and filling in forms at the COTA NSW Information Hubs in Wollongong, Ashfield, Hurstville and Penrith. 

Details of the hubs:

Penrith - Penrith Library, 601 High Street, last Thursday of the month, 9.30am - 1pm

Hurstville - Hurstville Seniors Centre, 91 Queens Rd, every 2nd and 4th Tuesday, 10am - 12pm

Ashfield - Ashfield Civic Centre, 260 Liverpool Road, every Tuesday, 11am - 3pm

Wollongong - Wollongong Library, 41 Burelli Street, fortnightly on Wednesday, 9.30 am - 1 pm

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