About My Aged Care
My Aged Care (MAC) is the main entry point to the aged care system in Australia. It was introduced on 1 July 2013 and consists of the My Aged Care website and the My Aged Care contact centre (1800 200 422).
My Aged Care provides information about aged care services to consumers, family members and carers, as well as service providers and health professionals. A suite of changes to My Aged Care was introduced in July 2015, which included the introduction of a central client record to enable the collection and sharing of information between clients, assessors and service providers. Other changes included:
- The introduction of the My Aged Care Regional Assessment Service (RAS) to conduct faceto-face assessments of people seeking entry level support through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)
- Use of the National Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF) by contact centre staff and assessors
- Web-based My Aged Care portals for clients, assessors and service providers
Aged care consumers are encouraged to first call the My Aged Care contact centre for information on the types of services they are eligible to apply for. When a person calls the contact centre, they will be asked for permission to create a personalised client record which will store information about assessments and services they receive. They will also be asked for permission to share the client record in order to prevent the need to repeat information that has already been provided. Contact centre staff will collect information to help direct clients to the most appropriate assessment service.
Different arrangements are currently in place in Western Australia with the continued operation of Home and Community Care (HACC) services. Western Australia signed up to the National Health Reforms earlier this year and the WA HACC programme will transition to the CHSP on 1 July 2018.
Occupational therapists work across the broad spectrum of aged care, providing services to home care recipients, people in residential aged care facilities, and people receiving services under the Transition Care and Short-Term Restorative Care programmes.
An approved provider of aged care is an organisation that has been approved to provide residential care, home care or flexible care under the Aged Care Act 1997. An organisation must be an approved provider to receive aged care subsidies from the Australian Government.
There are three application forms for organisations seeking to become approved providers:
- New applicant form – for organisations that are not currently approved providers of aged care
- Existing approved provider form – for existing providers that are seeking approval to provide another type of care
- Government organisations form – for state, territory governments and local government authorities to register to provide aged care services
Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)
The CHSP is an entry level programme for older people who need some help with daily tasks to live independently at home. The CHSP commenced on 1 July 2015. The CHSP combines the following four programmes:
- Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC) Programme
- National Respite for Carers Programme (NRCP)
- Day Therapy Centres (DTC) Programme
- Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA) Programme
To be eligible for CHSP services, a person must be aged over 65 (or over 50 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people). Registration with My Aged Care and a RAS assessment are required to be approved for care. Services available through the CHSP include:
- Community and home support services such as domestic assistance (eg. cleaning, laundry), personal care (eg. help with showering or getting dressed), home maintenance, nursing care and transport assistance
- Food services such as help with making meals and delivering meals to a person’s home
- Allied health support services such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology
Services for carers such as respite care and counselling are also available through the CHSP.
Home Care Packages (HCPs)
Home Care Packages are available to people with more complex care needs who wish to continue living at home. Consumers receive a tailored package of support services to meet their specific care needs. The Home Care Packages Program (HCPP) is positioned between the CHSP and residential aged care. There are four levels of home care packages:
- Home Care Level 1: to support people with basic care needs
- Home Care Level 2: to support people with low level care needs
- Home Care Level 3: to support people with intermediate care needs
- Home Care Level 4: to support people with high level care needs
There are no minimum age requirements to access a home care package. Clients will be referred for an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) to determine what services they are eligible for. Services available under a home care package include:
- Personal care, such as assistance with showering and dressing
- Continence management
- Aids and equipment to enhance mobility and dexterity, such as crutches, walking frames and bed rails
- Transport and personal assistance
- Nursing and allied health services, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology
Home Care Packages are delivered on a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) basis. This means that package recipients and their carers have greater choice and control over the services they receive. As part of this process, clients work with their service provider to develop an individual care plan and agree on the costs of services. They will also decide how involved they want to be in managing their care package.
Once a client has selected a home care provider, they will be given a Home Care Agreement outlining the details of what is included in their package. As part of the Home Care Agreement, service providers work with clients to identify goals and design a care plan. The care plan must be reviewed at least once every 12 months and cannot be changed without the consent of the client. Clients also have the right to request a review of their care plan at any time if their needs change.
ACATs assess whether entering an aged care home would be a suitable option for an older person. Assessors also provide information about aged care homes located in a person’s area, and respite care for those requiring a short stay in an aged care home.
There are a number of different programmes that fall under the broad heading of ‘flexible care’. These include the Transition Care Programme (TCP) and the Short-Term Restorative Care Programme (STRC).
Transition Care is for older people who have had a stay in hospital and would otherwise be eligible for residential care. They must be assessed by an ACAT while they are a hospital in-patient. Transition Care is provided for a maximum of 12 weeks, however it is possible to extend this depending on an individual’s circumstances.
The STRC supports older people to live independently at home by reversing or slowing functional decline. It can be delivered in a range of settings and is available for a maximum of 56 days.
There are a number of different ways for service providers and health professionals to make a complaint about any aspect of My Aged Care:
- By visiting the ‘Contact us’ page on the My Aged Care website and selecting ‘Provide feedback, ask a question or make a complaint’
- By calling the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422
- By contacting the Department of Health via an online form or email
- By contacting the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552 or by visiting their website.