The how-could-they-miss-it part of home care: big items

Article published 14 July 2021

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HOME Care Packages are set up so that you, the care recipient, are in control. It is you who makes the decisions about what the money gets spent on.

The purchase of items like a walker or a wheelchair or any other aides or home modifications also comes out of your package.

But the problem often is that the balance in your package account isn’t enough to cover the expense of the item you need to buy.

Or it may cover the expense, but if you used it to buy the item, you would have nothing left to pay for, say, your meal service or your personal care.

The only way to get around that problem is to save up for however long it takes to get the money together for something you may urgently need.

The Department of Health has been very high-minded about the design of Home Care Packages. They tell us that it’s all about choice and you being in control. This is good. Unfortunately, the Department forgot about the lowly practicality of the need for equipment and home modifications in care-at-home.

Apart from saving up in your Home Care Package account until there’s enough to make your purchase, the only other thing you can do is to advance the money yourself. If you have the spare cash, that is.

Otherwise, someone in urgent need of a wheelchair may just need to sit around in an ordinary chair for a few months.

This problem was picked up by the Aged Care Royal Commission. It recommended “an assistive technology and home modifications category within the aged care program that provides goods, aids, equipment and services that promote a level of independence in daily living tasks and reduces risks to living safely at home”.

It is to be “grant funded”. This means it is not to come out of your Home Care Package money.

The Australian Government has accepted this recommendation.

The recommended start date is 1 July 2022.

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