For frequently asked questions relating to the legislative changes, please visit our Legislative Changes Frequently Asked Questions page.

FAQ topics

Staying at home
Supporting Carers
Strengthening Residential Care
Workforce Supplement
Consumer support and research
Better health care connections
Older Australians from Diverse Backgrounds
Building a system for the future

FAQs by topics

Staying at Home Supporting Carers Strengthening Residential Care Workforce Supplement Consumer Support and Research Better Health Care Connections Older Australians from Diverse Backgrounds Building a System for the Future Aged Care Financing Authority

Questions and answers by topic

Staying at home

Access
Q: Programs that provide basic support for people at home are often fragmented, inconsistent and confusing. What will be done to make it easier for people to find the services they want, particularly as their care needs change?

A: From 1 July 2015, the Government will establish the Commonwealth Home Support program. The new Home Support program will bring together under the one program the services that currently provide basic home support – namely, the Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC) Program, the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP), the Day Therapy Centres program, and the Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA) program. This new streamlined approach will make it easier for consumers to find the services that are relevant to them.

Programs for veterans provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will remain separate from the Commonwealth Home Support program.
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Home and Community Care/ Commonwealth Homes Support Program
Q: Will there be a change to the way Home and Community Care (HACC) services are delivered before 1 July 2015?

A: To help ensure a smooth transition for HACC providers and consumers, in general, the Government will not make substantial changes to HACC service delivery until the introduction of the Commonwealth Home Support program on 1 July 2015.

However, the sector has highlighted the need to review the range of programs that deliver respite. As part of the Living Longer Living Better reform package and as a result of transition of the HACC program to the Commonwealth, the Australian Government will bring together a number of different programs into a single national respite program.

The development of the new arrangements for respite will be undertaken in conjunction with the sector over the coming months, with the new respite program commencing from
1 July 2014.

Further information on the Commonwealth HACC Program visit the Commonwealth HACC Program - Frequently Asked Questions page.
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Q: How will HACC services in Victoria and Western Australia be impacted by the reforms?

A: From 1 July 2012, the Australian Government assumed full operational responsibility for HACC services for older people in all states and territories except Victoria and Western Australia. In these states, basic community care services continue to be delivered under a joint Australian Government and state government funded HACC program until otherwise agreed. A review of existing HACC arrangements in Victoria and Western Australia is currently being undertaken in collaboration with the relevant state government.

The Australian Government will engage the Victorian and Western Australia state governments in planning in the lead up to the implementation of the Commonwealth Home Support program on 1 July 2015.
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Q: How will people be assessed for the Home Support program?

A:The Commonwealth Home Support program will be implemented from 1 July 2015. There is considerable work and analysis to be done before 1 July 2015. This will include determining how people will be assessed for the new program.

For now, people over the age of 65 will continue to be assessed as they currently are for basic home support services. For HACC services, the assessment may be undertaken by a Commonwealth HACC service provider or an organisation that is funded to provide HACC assessment services. From 2013-14, work will begin on standardising assessment processes for both basic home support services and comprehensive aged care assessment.

Home Care Packages
Q: What is Home Care?

A: "Home care" is a type of aged care under the Aged Care Act 1997. Home care is funded by the Australian Government through the Home Care Packages Program (see below). Previously, home care was known as “community care”, or sometimes “community packaged care”.

Home care is not the same as Home and Community Care (HACC) funded services, which also provide support to people to remain living at home.

There is a Commonwealth HACC Program and joint Commonwealth-state government funded HACC Programs in Western Australia and Victoria. These are separate programs from the Home Care Packages Program.

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Q: Who is a consumer?

A: In the Home Care Packages Program, the term “consumer” is used to refer to the person receiving care and services through a Home Care Package. “Consumer” is the terminology preferred by the National Aged Care Alliance, rather than “client”, “customer” or “care recipient”. It should be noted that the term “care recipient” is used in the legislation (the Aged Care Act 1997 and in the associated Principles and Determinations made under the Act). “Consumer” is not a defined term under the legislation.
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Q: What is Consumer Directed Care (CDC)?

A: Consumer Directed Care (CDC) is a way of delivering services that allows consumers to have greater control over their own lives by allowing them to make choices about the types of care and services they access and the delivery of those services, including who will deliver the services and when.

CDC is not a type of package by itself. In the Home Care Packages Program, CDC is an approach to providing home care services which provides greater flexibility and choice to consumers.

Under a Home Care Package delivered on a CDC basis:
  • the consumer is encouraged to identify goals, which could include independence, wellness and re-ablement. The goals will form the basis of the consumer’s care plan, together with the consumer’s assessed care needs.
  • the consumer can decide the level of involvement they wish to have in managing their package, which could range from involvement in all aspects of the package, including co-ordination of care and services, to a less active role in decision-making and management of the package.
  • the consumer is able to exercise choice in the way that services are offered and delivered.
  • the consumer will receive an individualised budget and a monthly statement of income and expenditure to provide transparency about what funding is available under the package and how the funds are being spent.
  • there will be ongoing monitoring and review, and a formal re-assessment by the home care provider (at least every 12 months), to ensure that the package continues to be appropriate for the consumer.
In a CDC environment, the home care provider should always encourage and support the consumer to make informed choices about the type of services to be provided through the package to meet the consumer’s goals, including how the services are delivered and by whom. This may involve sub-contracting services from another service provider if the home care provider is not able to deliver the services required by the consumer.

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Q: What is the Home Care Packages Program?

A: The Home Care Packages Program is funded by the Australian Government.

The Program commences on 1 August 2013 and replaces the former community packaged care programs – Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs), Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages, and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) packages.

The objectives of the Home Care Packages Program are:
  • to assist people to remain living at home for as long as possible; and
  • to enable consumers to have choice and flexibility in the way that care and support is provided at home.
These objectives are relevant to all packages funded under the Home Care Packages Program, whether delivered on a CDC basis or not.

The Home Care Packages Program Guidelines provide further information about the program. The Guidelines are primarily for use by home care providers, although the Guidelines may also be of interest to consumers and carers and other stakeholders.

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Q: What is a Home Care Package?

A: A Home Care Package is a coordinated package of services tailored to meet the consumer’s specific care needs.
The package is co-ordinated by a home care provider, with funding provided by the Australian Government.

A range of services can be provided under a Home Care Package, including care services, support services, clinical services and other services to support a person to live at home. More information about care and services is provided under the question, “What types of care and services are available under a Home Care Package?”

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 care needs.
Home Care Level 2 is equivalent to the former Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs), while Home Care Level 4 is equivalent to the former Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages.
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Q. Will CDC be available in all Home Care Packages?

A: From August 2013, all new Home Care Packages must be delivered on a CDC basis. This includes all of the packages allocated to providers in the 2012-13 Aged Care Approvals Round (around 5,800 packages).

A further 1,000 packages are already being delivered on a CDC basis, following a pilot program funded by the Australian Government from 2010 to 2012.

From July 2015, all Home Care Packages, including packages that were previously allocated as CACPs, EACH or EACHD packages, must be delivered on a CDC basis.

Home care providers with existing packages do not have to wait until July 2015 to provide services on a CDC basis. They can elect to convert existing packages to a CDC basis once they are ready to make the transition. Further information about the process for converting existing packages will be available shortly after the program commences.
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Q: Will there be an evaluation of the Home Care Packages Program?

A: The Home Care Packages Program, including the CDC arrangements, will be closely monitored and evaluated over the first two years. Any lessons learned during the evaluation will be used to refine the program before the CDC arrangements are applied to all Home Care Packages from July 2015.
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Q: Who is eligible to receive a Home Care Package?

A: In order to access a Home Care Package, a person needs to be assessed and approved as eligible for home care by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), or an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAS) in Victoria, and then offered a Home Care Package by a home care provider.

There is not a minimum age requirement for eligibility purposes, but the Home Care Packages Program is targeted at frail older people.

In some cases, younger people with disabilities, dementia or special care needs may be able to access a Home Care Package – if the person has been assessed and approved by an ACAT, and the provider is able to offer an appropriate package for the person.
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Q: Does a person need to be an Australian citizen to receive a Home Care Package?

A: There are no citizenship or residency restrictions on accessing the Home Care Packages Program. However, the packages are not intended for visitors to Australia or people requiring temporary or short-term care.
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Q: Does a person need to be assessed by an ACAT for each level of package?

A: A person can be approved by an ACAT either for Home Care Level 1 or 2 (in one assessment band) or for Home Care Level 3 or 4 (in a higher assessment band).

Once a person has been assessed by an ACAT and approved for home care, a person may be offered a package by a home care provider, at either level within the relevant band (eg Level 1 or 2, or Level 3 or 4) for which they have been approved. If the person has been approved by an ACAT as eligible for Level 3 or 4, the person can also be offered a package at a lower level (eg Level 1 or 2).

The decision to offer an eligible person a package, including at what level the package is offered (within the scope of the ACAT approval) is made by the home care provider, taking into account the person’s needs and the availability of packages at the relevant levels.
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Q: If a person has already been approved by an ACAT as eligible for a CACP, EACH or EACHD package (before 1 August 2013), will the person need to be reassessed by an ACAT before they can be offered a Home Care Package by a home care provider?

A: A person with an existing approval does not need to be re-assessed by an ACAT unless their care needs have changed significantly since the assessment.

From 1 August 2013:
  • a person already approved for a CACP can be offered a Home Care Level 1 or 2 package without the need for another ACAT assessment.
  • a person already approved for an EACH or EACHD package can be offered a Home Care Level 3 or 4 package, or a lower level package, without the need for another ACAT assessment.
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Q: Will a person need to wait for a Home Care Package?

A: In some areas, there may be a waiting period between the ACAT assessment and the time that the person is offered a Home Care Package by a home care provider.

People do not necessarily access care purely on a “first come, first served” basis. Home care providers are encouraged to assess each individual’s care needs relative to others also waiting for home care.

If a person has been approved by an ACAT as eligible for a higher level package (eg Level 3 or 4), but none is available, the person may be offered a lower level package (eg Level 1 or 2) until a higher level package is available - without the need for another ACAT assessment.
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Q: How are Home Care Packages allocated to providers?

A: A Home Care Package can only be provided to a consumer by an approved provider under the Aged Care Act 1997.

An organisation wanting to deliver home care under the Home Care Packages Program must apply to the Department of Health and Ageing to become an approved provider (home care provider). To gain approval as a provider of aged care under the Act, the applicant and its proposed key personnel, such as directors, board members and service managers must be assessed by the Department as suitable to provide aged care.

Further information about the approved provider requirements is now available.

Providers must also apply to the Department to receive an allocation of home care places (packages) under the Aged Care Act 1997. Packages are allocated to providers through a competitive process, known as the Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR). The number and location of packages available through the ACAR will vary from year to year.
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Q: How much funding is available under a Home Care Package?

A: At the commencement of the package, the consumer and the home care provider will enter into a Home Care Agreement, which sets out the basis on which services will be provided to the consumer. Once this has occurred, the home care provider can claim a subsidy from the Australian Government.

The subsidy is used to pay for care and services required by the consumer, to help the consumer to remain living at home.

The subsidy is calculated daily and is paid to the home care provider on a monthly basis by the Department of Human Services.

The basic subsidy amounts for 2013-14 (effective 1 August 2013) are set out below. Other supplement amounts may also apply.
Level of Home Care PackageBasic home care subsidy in 2013-14 (per day)Basic home care subsidy in 2013-14 (per annum)
Level 1$20.55$7,501
Level 2$37.38$13,644
Level 3$82.20$30,003
Level 4$124.95$45,607
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Q: Can the funding or subsidy for the Home Care Package be paid directly to the consumer?

A: Under the legislation, the government subsidy for the Home Care Package (the home care subsidy) can only be paid to a home care provider.

The home care subsidy cannot be paid directly to the consumer (or to another person, such as a carer or family member, on behalf of the consumer). The home care subsidy also cannot be “cashed-out” to the consumer (or to another person) by the approved provider.
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Q: What is happening to the former CACP, EACH and EACHD packages?

A: Consumers already receiving CACP, EACH or EACHD packages will continue to receive services under the Home Care Packages Program, although the name of their package will change from 1 August 2013.

Existing consumers do not need to be re-assessed by an ACAT in order to receive a Home Care Package. The transitional provisions in the legislation mean that existing consumers receiving:
  • a CACP will receive services under a Home Care Level 2 package.
  • an EACH package will receive services under a Home Care Level 4 package.
  • an EACHD package will receive services under a Home Care Level 4 package.
Note: a Dementia and Cognition Supplement will also be paid to the home care provider for existing EACHD consumers (or if the consumer is a veteran with a mental health condition accepted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as associated with service, a Veterans’ Supplement may be paid to the home care provider rather than the Dementia and Cognition Supplement). The Veterans' Supplement will be paid if the consumer meets the eligibility criteria and agrees that their eligibility can be disclosed to the home care provider.
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Q: Why is there no longer an EACHD package level?

A: It is no longer necessary to have a separate EACHD level in home care, as a Dementia and Cognition Supplement (or Veterans’ Supplement) will be available to all consumers who meet the eligibility criteria for the relevant supplement, across any of the four levels of Home Care Packages.

The Dementia and Cognition Supplement (or the Veterans’ Supplement if applicable) will be paid at 10% of the basic subsidy amount for the relevant level of Home Care Package.

There will also be a small “top-up” supplement to ensure that existing EACHD consumers receive the same level of funding plus indexation in the transition to the new home care arrangements.

As with the subsidy amounts for a Home Care Package, supplements are paid to the home care provider, rather than directly to the consumer.
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Q: What type of care and services are available under a Home Care Package?

A: A range of care and services can be provided under a Home Care Package, at any level. The Home Care Packages Program Guidelines include a list of care and services, covering items such as:
  • Care services (eg assistance with bathing, dressing, mobility, preparing meals, continence management).
  • Support services (eg cleaning, laundry services, gardening, home maintenance, transport to attend medical appointments or social activities).
  • Clinical services (eg nursing, allied health and therapy services).
This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it expected that all of the care and services listed will be provided to an individual consumer through a Home Care Package.

The consumer and the home care provider can also negotiate other care and services required to support the consumer to live at home where the services are identified in the consumer’s care plan and the services can be provided within the limits of the resources (funding) available for the package level.

The main difference between the home care levels is the amount of care and services that can be provided to the consumer, rather than the type of care at each package level. More care and services can be provided under Home Care Level 4, compared to the other home care levels, reflecting the higher subsidy for the Level 4 package.
Nursing, allied health and other clinical servicesWhere required, a consumer can access nursing, allied health or other clinical services (such as hearing or vision services) under any level of Home Care Package.

While nursing, allied health or other clinical services may be provided as part of Level 1 and 2 packages, these packages are not intended to provide comprehensive clinical or health services. Level 3 and 4 packages have a greater emphasis on delivering complex care in the home, including more clinical care where required.
Telehealth and digital technologyThe care and services in all package levels may also be used to support the use of:
  • telehealth, video conferencing and digital technology (including remote monitoring) where appropriate, to increase access to timely and appropriate care; and
  • assistive technology, such as aids and equipment (particularly those that assist a person to perform daily living tasks), as well as devices that assist mobility, communication and personal safety.
Aids and equipment The Home Care Packages Program is not intended to be an aids and equipment scheme. However, some aids and equipment, including custom made aids, can be provided to a consumer where this is identified in their care plan and the item/s can be provided within the limits of the resources available for the package.

The home care subsidy can be also used to assist a consumer who requires a motorised wheelchair (or motorised scooter). However, given the high cost of these items, in most cases, it expected that these items would be hired or leased, rather than purchased for the consumer.

If the home care subsidy is used to purchase, or contribute towards the cost of purchasing, a motorised wheelchair or scooter for the consumer, there will need to be a clear understanding between the home care provider and the consumer as to who owns the item, what will happen to the item once the consumer leaves the package, and who is responsible for ongoing maintenance and repair costs.

State and territory governments operate specialised aids and equipment schemes to assist people with disabilities, including older people. It is expected that consumers will continue to be able to access specialised aids and equipment schemes where there is a need for support.

Q: What types of activities or items cannot be funded under a Home Care Package?

A: Some items cannot be funded under a Home Care Package. These include:
  • use of the package funds as a source of general income for the consumer
  • purchase of food, except as part of enteral feeding requirements
  • payment for permanent accommodation, including assistance with home purchase, mortgage payments or rent
  • payment of home care fees
  • payment of fees or charges for other types of care funded or jointly funded by the Australian Government
  • home modifications or capital items that are not related to the consumer’s care needs
  • travel and accommodation for holidays
  • cost of entertainment activities, such as club memberships and tickets to sporting events
  • payment for services and items covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • gambling activities
  • illegal activities.

Q: Is there a specified or minimum hours of care under each level of the package?

A: A Home Care Package will be tailored to meet the needs of the individual consumer, based on his or her assessed care needs. A range of personal care, support services, clinical services and other services can be provided under a package.

The amount of care (ie number of hours) will vary from person to person, depending on factors such as the type of care and services being offered to the consumer, how and when those services are delivered, and whether some of the available budget is being used for specific items such as aids and equipment.

Q: Can a consumer top-up their package with additional services paid for by the consumer?

A: A consumer may choose to “top up” their package by purchasing additional care and services through their home care provider. This would need to be negotiated and agreed between the consumer and the home care provider.

Any additional monetary contribution from the consumer should be separately identified, either within the individualised budget (if the package is being delivered on a CDC basis) or in separate documentation.

In such cases, the additional care and services would be organised by the home care provider under the same conditions, rights and responsibilities that underpin the delivery of the Home Care Package.

Q: What happens to the Home Care Package if the consumer moves to another location?

A: Under the legislation, a Home Care Package is allocated to a home care provider at a specified location. This is usually within an aged care planning region (for example, the Hunter Aged Care Planning Region in NSW) or sometimes within a specific area within a region (Port Stephens within the Hunter region).

When a consumer moves to a different location that is outside the home care provider’s service delivery area, the consumer may have to change to another home care provider.

The Home Care Package does not automatically transfer with the consumer in these circumstances. In order to continue to receive home care services, the consumer will need to be offered a package from a home care provider with a package available in the consumer’s new location.

Q: Are there fees associated with a Home Care Package?

A: The Australian Government pays for the bulk of aged care in Australia. However, as with other aged care services, the consumer may be asked to contribute to the cost of care if they can afford to do so.

An approved provider may charge a care fee (sometimes called a care recipient contribution, care recipient fee or consumer fee) in certain circumstances.

The maximum fee that a consumer can be asked to pay in a care fee is determined by the legislation.
If the consumer’s income is …Then …
the basic rate of the single pensionthe maximum fee is 17.5 per cent of the basic rate of the single pension; this applies to both single and married consumers
more than the basic rate of the single pensionthe maximum fee is 17.5 per cent of the person’s income to the level of the basic pension plus up to 50 per cent of income above the basic pension
Example: Where a consumer receives the maximum single pension, for example $766.00 per fortnight, the maximum fee they would pay is $133.98 per fortnight. This example is based on the pension rates as at 20 March 2013. Pension rates are updated twice a year in March and September.

The maximum amount that a provider can charge depends on the consumer’s income but the provider must also consider other expenses such as high pharmaceutical bills, rent, utilities and other living expenses.

A consumer’s access to a Home Care Package must not be affected by their ability to pay fees, but should be based on the need for care, and the capacity of the home care provider to meet that need.

The legislation also requires that information about fees, including how fees are calculated and the fees payable, is included in the Home Care Agreement between the consumer and the home care provider.
New income testing arrangements from 1 July 2014 As part of the aged care reforms, from 1 July 2014, new arrangements will apply to the way that the home care subsidy is calculated.

Consumers entering home care after 1 July 2014 may be asked to make a contribution towards their care, based on their income (similar to current arrangements), with additional safeguards of annual and lifetime caps and financial hardship provisions.

Your income will be used to determine the amount you will be asked to contribute to your care to ensure people with similar income pay similar fees. There will be a basic daily care fee but those on higher incomes may also be asked to pay an income tested care fee. If the fees cause hardship, you can apply for Financial Hardship Assistance through the Department of Social Services.

Under the new arrangements, the subsidy payable by the Government will be reduced according to the income tested care fee payable. The income testing arrangements and the care subsidy reduction will be administered by the Department of Human Services.

Further information about these changes will be available from the My Aged Care website and the national contact centre prior to the introduction of the new subsidy arrangements in July 2014.

The Home Care Packages Guidelines will also be updated before 1 July 2014 to explain the new income testing and care subsidy reduction arrangements.

Q: What support is available to assist consumers from non-English speaking backgrounds?

A: Where required, the provider should arrange for the Home Care Agreement and the care plan (and the individualised budget and monthly statement of expenditure if the package is being delivered on a CDC basis) to be made available to the consumer in a language other than English. Any additional costs associated with the translation must be clearly explained to the consumer.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship provides a national Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) – phone 131 450.

Home care providers will be able to use TIS to provide interpreting services to assist Home Care consumers to understand their Home Care Package, including the Home Care Agreement, the individualised budget and monthly statements. Arrangements for accessing this service will be the same as the TIS arrangements for residential aged care providers, ie providers will be given a unique code to access interpreting services from TIS.

Further details about the TIS arrangements for home care providers will be included in an updated FAQ.

In the future, home care providers will also be offered opportunities to apply for funding through the Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants fund for the translation of template documents related to Home Care Packages.

Advocacy Services A consumer can request that another person assist them in dealings with their home care provider. A consumer has the right to call on an advocate of their choice to represent them in managing their care. Services provided by an advocate may include:
  • establishing or reviewing the Home Care Agreement and care plan;
  • negotiating the fees the consumer may be asked to pay by the home care provider; and
  • presenting any complaints the consumer may have.
The home care provider must allow an advocate acting for an authorised body access to the home care service if the consumer or their representative has requested the assistance of such a person.

The National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) is a program funded by the Australian Government under the Aged Care Act 1997. The program promotes the rights of people who are seeking or are receiving Australian Government funded aged care services.

A consumer may wish to seek the assistance of an advocacy service funded under the NACAP. Advocacy services provide information to consumers, their families and carers about their rights and responsibilities when accessing Home Care Packages. Advocacy services are free, confidential and independent.

The National Aged Care Advocacy Line can be contacted on 1800 700 600 (free call).

Aged Care Complaints Scheme The Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme) is available to anyone who has a complaint or concern about an Australian Government-subsidised aged care service. This includes Home Care Packages.

Complaints can be made openly, anonymously or the person’s name can be kept confidential.

The consumer, or their representative, is encouraged to discuss any complaint with their home provider in the first instance. However, if they remain unsatisfied with the response, they can contact the Complaints Scheme.

The Complaints Scheme can be contacted on 1800 550 552 (free call). More information can be found on the Aged Care Complaints Scheme website.

Q: Can a person receive services under both DisabilityCare Australia and the Home Care Packages Program?

A: From 1 July 2013, DisabilityCare Australia (the national disability insurance scheme) will commence initially in South Australia, Tasmania, the Hunter region in New South Wales, and the Barwon region in Victoria. The ACT and the Barkly region of the Northern Territory will join DisabilityCare Australia on 1 July 2014. Queensland will begin to roll-out the scheme from July 2016.

DisabilityCare Australia is expected to be fully operational as a national program by 2019-20. Visit DisabilityCare Australia for more information.

In general, a person will not be a participant of DisabilityCare Australia or receive disability services at the same time as they receive Australian Government funded aged care services, including a Home Care Package.

A person accessing a Home Care Package would generally relinquish that package upon becoming a participant of DisabilityCare Australia. However, they may continue to receive services outside of the Home Care Package program from the same service provider if that provider is also registered as a provider with DisabilityCare Australia.

A participant of DisabilityCare Australia who first receives services through the Home Care Packages Program after the person turns 65 years of age ceases to be a participant of DisabilityCare Australia.

Q: Can a person receive services under both the Home Care Packages Program and the Commonwealth HACC Program (for the joint Commonwealth-State funded programs in Western Australia and Victoria?

A: Generally, if a person is receiving a Home Care Package, the package will be the primary source of government funding for care and services to the home care consumer.

A home care provider can sub-contract to a HACC service provider to provide services as part of a Home Care Package, for example, personal care, meals, community transport, nursing or allied health services, social activities, or respite care. In these cases, the full cost for providing the service will be paid out of the budget for the Home Care Package.

Additional HACC services can also be provided to a home care consumer, as part of the HACC Program, in limited circumstances.
  • A consumer may access additional HACC services (funded by the HACC Program rather than out of the budget for the Home Care Package) in an emergency, or when a carer is not able to maintain their caring role. These instances should be time limited, monitored and reviewed.
  • A home care consumer receiving a Level 1 or 2 package may also access additional nursing or allied health services funded through the HACC Program, where the budget for the Home Care Package has been fully allocated for care needs identified in the consumer’s care plan and additional nursing or allied health services are required to support the consumer to remain living at home.
  • When a HACC service provider is assessing a home care consumer’s eligibility for services under the HACC Program, the service provider must consider any other services that the consumer is already receiving. Priority for HACC services may be given to people who are not receiving any other services.
Information about the interface between Home Care Packages and the HACC Programs is also included in the Home Care Packages Program Guidelines.

Clarification of the purchase of food and provision of delivered meal services under the Home Care Packages Program

The government subsidy for a Home Care Package cannot be used as a source of general income for the consumer including the purchase of food, except as part of enteral feeding requirements (page 50 of the Home Care Packages Program Guidelines).

While the purchase of food itself is excluded, the Home Care Package can be used for services such as assistance with preparing meals; assistance with special diets for health, religious, cultural or other reasons; assistance with using eating utensils and eating aids and assistance with actual feeding if necessary; and providing enteral feeding formula and equipment (page 48 of the Guidelines).

The Guidelines also include information about where a home care provider can sub-contract services to a HACC service provider (page 80 of the Guidelines).

The following information is provided to further clarify the situation regarding the provision of delivered meals, whether by a HACC service provider or another provider.

The government subsidy for a Home Care Package can be used to pay for the preparation and delivery of meals. This could be through the consumer's home care provider, a HACC service provider (for example, under a sub-contracting arrangement with the home care provider) or by a private service provider. However, the consumer is expected to cover the cost of, or to make a contribution towards the cost of, the food. The amount of the contribution or fee may be negotiated between the home care provider, the meals service provider and the consumer.

Q: What is "home support" and how is this different from home care?

A: As part of the Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms, the Australian Government has announced that a new Commonwealth Home Support Program will commence from 1 July 2015.


The Commonwealth Home Support Program will incorporate the existing Commonwealth Home and Care Community Care (HACC) Program, the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP), the Day Therapy Centres (DTC) Program, and the Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA) Program.

Q: Will there be any changes to the claiming arrangements for home care providers?

A: Existing providers of CACPs / EACH / EACHD packages will be assigned with a new home care service ID, effective 1 August 2013. The new home care service ID (or IDs if more than one service) will replace the provider's existing services IDs used for claiming a community care subsidy for CACPs and/or a flexible care subsidy for EACH / EACHD packages.

Initially, existing providers will be able to continue to use their existing service IDs. New home care service IDs will appear on Claim Forms and Payment Statements. The new IDs should be used for all future claims in relation to Home Care Packages.

Where a provider is establishing a new home care service (eg allocated through the 2012-13 ACAR), the provider will be assigned a new home care service ID for each service. Providers of new home care services should contact the Department of Human Services for further information about establishing claiming arrangements for a new service.

For more information about claiming and payments, contact the Department of Human Services on 1800 195 206 or visit the DHS website: http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/provider/aged-care/index.jsp

Q: Where can I get more information?

A:Further information about the aged care system, including the Home Care Packages Program, ACATs, HACC services, and other programs and services is available on the My Aged Care website or via the national contact centre on 1800 200 422.
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Supporting Carers

Q: Why is aged care reform important for carers?

A: Australia has more than 2.6 million informal carers who play a critical role within the aged care system, and in the broader disability support system, providing most of the care received by older Australians. Supporting carers is an important part of recognising the role that carers play in improving the quality of lives of the people they care for and enabling them to remain living at home longer.

Many carers find existing arrangements for accessing respite care and other support complex. The system is difficult to navigate, and lacking the flexibility and choice carers need. Research reveals that carers have the lowest health and well-being of any group surveyed and access to emotional and psychological support is vital to reduce stress on carers, improve their skills to cope and, where possible, enable them to continue their caring role.

Demand for counselling and respite services is increasing as our population ages and the issues carers bring to counselling have increased in complexity. Carers may need to access a series of counselling sessions to support them in their caring role and the assurance of ongoing support options when their needs and the needs of the person they are caring for change.
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Q: What will aged care reform achieve for carers?

A: Aged care reform will support better access to respite care and counselling services. It will promote greater choice for carers of older people, by streamlining funding arrangements for respite care, expanding access to services and giving carers more choice and flexibility in the services they use.
Carers of older people aged 65 and over will receive improved support and greater choice of respite services that are better targeted and coordinated to suit their needs.
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Q: How many carers will be supported by the expansion of respite services?

A: From 1 July 2012, increased funding will allow an additional 5,000 care recipients and their carers to access respite care services each year. In addition, growth funding will be provided so that the number of care recipients and their carers accessing respite care services will grow by an additional 4,200 each year from 2014-15.
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Q: What will be done to help carers access support?

A: The Government will establish a network of Carer Support Centres around Australia which will provide a range of services including arranging emergency respite, information and support, education and counselling, and referral for other services where appropriate.

Carer Support Centres will work with carers to address their diverse needs in a planned way, to help reduce the need for emergency support and facilitate timely access to support and services.
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Q: When will the Carer Support Centres be up and running?

A: The Department of Health and Ageing will conduct an open, competitive process to establish the network of Carer Support Centres, with the Centres themselves starting operations from 2014-15.

Q: Will carers of people receiving packaged care automatically be eligible for services under the National Respite for Carers Program?

A: Carers of people who receive packaged care are eligible to seek support through the National Respite for Carers Program based on their assessed need.

In consultation with the aged and community care sector, the Department of Health and Ageing will review the various programs that provide respite for carers with a view to streamlining and better targeting services for care recipients and their carers, giving them greater choice.
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Strengthening residential care

Homeless Supplement

Q: Why do we need a Homeless Supplement?

A: The Homeless Supplement will better support aged care homes that specialise in caring for people who have a history of, or at risk of, homelessness.

Q: How much funding will the Homeless Supplement provide?

A: The Homeless Supplement provides $15 per day for each resident of eligible aged care homes. This is in addition to the funding provided under the Viability Supplement.

Q: Who will be eligible?

A: Aged care homes that have registered for the homeless component of the Viability Supplement with greater than 50% of all residents meeting the homeless criterion, automatically receive the Homeless Supplement in addition to the funding provided by the Viability Supplement.

Q: How to apply?

A: There is no additional application process. Aged care homes that have registered for the homeless component of the Viability Supplement automatically receive the Homeless Supplement, in addition to the funding they already receive under the Viability Supplement. New aged care homes can apply through existing Viability Supplement processes.

Q: When did the Homeless Supplement take effect?

A: The Homeless Supplement commenced 1 October 2013.
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Workforce Supplement

Q: What is the Workforce Supplement?

A: As part of the Addressing Workforce Pressures initiative, eligible aged care providers or organisations funded under participating Australian Government funded programs can choose to apply for additional funding under the Workforce Supplement. The funding is to be passed on to employees as a wage increase of at least 1%. The Workforce Supplement is designed to build the capacity of the aged care sector through increasing wages and better supporting career development, training and workforce planning.

Q: What programs are eligible for the Workforce Supplement?

A: Participating programs that are eligible and able to receive funding for the Workforce Supplement from
1 July 2013:
  • Residential Aged Care provided under the Aged Care Act 1997;
  • Multi-Purpose Services provided under the Aged Care Act 1997; and
1 August 2013:
  • Home Care Packages provided under the Aged Care Act 1997;
  • Commonwealth HACC Program;
  • National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP);
  • Day Therapy Centre (DTC) Programs;
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program;
  • The Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) Program; and
  • The Department of Veterans’ Affairs Community Nursing (CN) Program.
The potential arrangements for HACC organisations in Victoria and Western Australia to access the Workforce Supplement is subject to negotiation between the Australian Government and the Victorian and Western Australian Governments.

Q: When can I apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: From 1 July 2013, eligible approved providers of residential care and some multi purpose service providers can receive the Workforce Supplement. All other eligible organisations and eligible approved providers of Home Care Packages can receive the Workforce Supplement from 1 August 2013. The application process is open from 1 July 2013.

Q: How does an organisation apply for the Aged Care Workforce Supplement?

A: To apply for the Workforce Supplement approved providers or organisations must complete the Aged Care Workforce Supplement application form. To be successful in their application, eligible applicants must meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Aged Care Workforce Supplement Guidelines. Application for the Workforce Supplement can be made at any time.

Q: Does an organisation that supplies services across a number of eligible Programs apply once and receive one payment?

A: Each provider can submit one single application covering all the eligible programs, when applying for the Workforce Supplement; however payments will in most cases be made based on current basic subsidy payments, funding or contractual arrangements for each program.

Q: When applying for the Workforce Supplement, can organisations restrict participation by service and/or facilities?

A: Application for the Workforce Supplement will cover all the organisation’s or approved provider’s facilities or services funded under Workforce Supplement eligible programs. Payment of the subsidy may be aggregated across these facilities or services.

Q: Can the Workforce Supplement application form be lodged electronically?

A: Once the Workforce Supplement application form has been completed, it can be sent electronically to health@formsadministration.com.au for processing.

Q: Who is authorised to apply for the Workforce Supplement on behalf of an organisation?

A: A person, determined by the organisation, who has sufficient authority to commit your organisation to the requirements of the Aged Care Workforce Supplement.

Q: How will an approved provider or organisation know if the application for the Workforce Supplement is successful?

A: The Department will provide the approved provider or organisation with a notice of decision regarding the application. If the application is determined to be eligible, the notice will include details of the date the supplement will be paid from. The Department expects to notify applications of the decision within 28 days of receiving the application or within 28 days of receiving any requested additional information.

Q: When and how will Workforce Supplement payments be made to the eligible approved provider or organisation?

A: Once a decision of eligibility is made, Workforce Supplement payments will be paid from the date of effect of the Workforce Supplement. The Workforce Supplement payments are a percentage of base subsidy or base funding received through participating programs and will be paid at the same time as the base subsidy or funding is paid. If funding is normally paid monthly, then the Workforce Supplement will be paid monthly.

Q: If an organisation’s employees receive a pay increase from December 2013 rather than July 2013, when will the Workforce Supplement be paid?

A: If an organisation is determined to be eligible for the Workforce Supplement, the supplement will be paid from the date set out in the notice of determination. This will generally be the date of effect of the employee wage increase, or the date of lodgement of an application for determination if the application is received by the Department of Health and Ageing later than 31 December 2013.
In this case the Workforce Supplement would be payable from the date of effect in December 2013.

Q: Is the Workforce Supplement a cumulative amount i.e. 1% in 2013/14 to 3.5% in 2016/17, or a flat 1%?

A: The Workforce Supplement is 1% of Commonwealth aged care base subsidy, Commonwealth aged care funding or Commonwealth aged care contracted amount in 2013-14, 2% in 2014-15, 3% in 2015-16 and 3.5% in 2016-17.

Q: Will the amount of the Supplement fluctuate on a month-by-month basis as the basic subsidy does?

A: Yes, the Workforce Supplement is based on the basic subsidy and will fluctuate as the basic subsidy does.

Q: What if the funding an approved provider or organisation receives is less than the 1% increase in wages?

A: If the approved provider or organisation has successfully applied to receive the Workforce Supplement they will be required to provide at least a 1% wage increase for all eligible employees as defined in the Workforce Supplement Guidelines.

Q: What can approved providers or organisations do with the workforce supplement money if the 1% increase in funding provides a surplus above the 1% increase to wages? Can the surplus funds be used for other purposes?

A: The intent of the Workforce Supplement is to attract, build and retain a skilled workforce. Where the amount of the supplement exceeds the cost of providing a 1% wage increase, the excess must be used for additional wage increases or to support the additional workforce commitments of the Addressing Workforce Pressures Initiative. This may include contributing towards the costs to the employer of implementing the Workforce Supplement. Approved providers and organisations will certify annually what the funding has been applied to.

Q: On what basis can an application for the Workforce Supplement be declined and what is the appeals process?

A: An application for the Workforce Supplement can be declined if an approved provider or organisation does not meet the requirements of the Workforce Supplement as specified in the application form and the Workforce Supplement Guidelines.

If an application is determined to be ineligible, the affected organisation may ask the Department to reconsider the decision. The request for a review of the decision must be in writing, outline the reasons for requesting a review and be made within 28 days of receiving the notice of the decision.

Where there is sufficient reason to reconsider the decision, the Department will do so and either confirm the decision, vary the decision or make a new decision.

Q: Do approved providers or organisations need to reapply for the Workforce Supplement every year?

A: Approved providers or organisations will only need to apply for the Workforce Supplement once. Each year, the Department will mail a compliance certification form to each participating approved provider or organisation to ensure that the Workforce Supplement eligibility requirements are still being met. Compliance reporting will be aligned with usual annual business reporting timeframes. For your information, a copy of the compliance form is located in the Workforce Supplement Guidelines.

Q: Does an organisation need to be receiving the Conditional Adjustment Payment to apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: No, the Workforce Supplement is independent of other payments and supplements.

Q: If an organisation already participates in the Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey through the Conditional Adjustment Payment (CAP), does it need to be completed twice?

A: You will only have to complete the Census and Survey once to meet this requirement for both the CAP and Workforce Supplement.

Q: Are brokered providers in Home Care eligible for the Supplement?

A: No, brokered providers cannot apply for the Workforce Supplement. However the approved provider or funded organisation can apply for the Workforce Supplement and pass this funding on to providers of brokered services to provide wage increases to their employees. Where this is the case, the approved provider or funded organisation is responsible for ensuring that all of the requirements to receive the supplement are in place.

Q: Are employees of local government who work in aged care eligible to receive the Workforce Supplement?

A: Yes, where the approved provider or funded organisation is a local government entity and their employees are not employed under state or territory government awards, they are able to apply for the Workforce Supplement.

Q: Are shift penalties included in the Workforce Supplement?

A: Not directly, the Workforce Supplement is to provide wage increases in respect of the basic wage rate.

Q: Does the Workforce Supplement apply to casual employees and if so at what rate?

A: The Workforce Supplement minimum wage increases apply to the employee’s basic wage rate, including casual rates.

Q: Is the increased wages from the Workforce Supplement applied for long service leave or when cashing out annual leave?

A: The Workforce Supplement is an ongoing rise in wages and forms part of the employee’s normal conditions, including leave entitlements, superannuation and other entitlements that are based on an underlying wage rate.

Q: Can an organisation negotiate with employees about how they want to receive the 1%? For example, as a lump sum, paid to their superannuation, or weekly instalments.


A: No, the supplement must provide for at least a 1% wage increase.

Q: Is an organisation eligible for the Workforce Supplement if wage increases over the award margin are split over the year? For example, a wage increase of 1.5% is provided in July and another 1.5% in January?

A: In this instance and where there is an enterprise agreement in place, an approved provider or an organisation will be eligible for the Workforce Supplement from the date of effect from the first point in time that the minimum wage requirements are met each year.

Q: Will an organisation be disadvantaged if they do not apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: No, applying for the Workforce Supplement is voluntary and is not a requirement of the Department for any other purpose.

Q: What are the next steps for the Workforce Supplement, after July 2017?

A: The longer term options for meeting the workforce challenges of the aged care sector are being considered by the Aged Care Financing Authority. It is expected that the Authority will finalise its considerations before the end of 2016-17.
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Enterprise Agreements

Q: Who is required to have an enterprise agreement to be eligible for the Workforce Supplement?


A: Approved providers of residential aged care services with 50 or more places allocated for the provision of residential care. Other approved providers or organisations may choose to update enterprise agreements, where they exist, to meet the eligibility criteria of the Workforce Supplement.

Q: When does an approved provider or organisation need to have an enterprise agreement in place to access the Workforce Supplement?

A: Approved providers of residential aged care services with 50 or more places allocated for the provision of residential care must have an enterprise agreement in place as follows:
  • by 31 December 2013 where there is an existing enterprise agreement on 1 July 2013; or
  • no later than 30 June 2014 where there is no enterprise agreement in place on 1 July 2013; or
  • at time of application for applications after 30 June 2014.

Q: If an organisation is a Residential Aged Care provider with a total of 50 allocated places, spanning three facilities with an enterprise agreement in place from 1 July 2013, what does the organisation need to do to apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: To apply for the Workforce Supplement, the approved provider will notify staff in writing of their intention to apply and undertake to provide the minimum wage requirements and other workforce commitments set out in the Workforce Supplement Guidelines.

Where the total allocated places is 50 or more, all eligible employees in each facility must be covered by an enterprise agreement that meets the eligibility criteria for the Workforce Supplement. For applications where there is a current enterprise agreement in place, the enterprise agreement must be varied by 31 December 2013 to include the requirements of the Workforce Supplement.

Each year, to ensure that the organisation is compliant against the eligibility requirements of the Workforce Supplement, a certification form must be completed. More information on eligibility criteria can be found in the Workforce Supplement Guidelines.

Q: If an organisation is a Residential Aged Care provider with a total of 50 allocated places, spanning three facilities without an enterprise agreement in place from 1 July 2013, what does the organisation need to do to apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: To apply for the Workforce Supplement, the approved provider will notify staff in writing of their intention to apply and undertake to provide the minimum wage requirements and other workforce commitments set out in the Workforce Supplement Guidelines.

Where the total allocated places is 50 or more, all eligible employees in each facility must be covered by an enterprise agreement that meets the eligibility criteria for the Workforce Supplement. For applications where there is no existing enterprise agreement an enterprise agreement that meets the eligibility criteria for the Workforce Supplement must be in place by 30 June 2014.

Q: For approved providers or organisations that are eligible to receive the Workforce Supplement, when will payments be made?

A: Workforce Supplement payments will be made from the date of effect of wage increases if the application is made before 31 December 2013 or from the date the application is received from 1 January 2014, or the date of effect of wage increases, whichever is later.

Each year, to ensure that the organisation is compliant against the eligibility requirements of the Workforce Supplement, a certification form must be completed.

For approved providers who apply after 30 June 2014, an enterprise agreement specifying the requirements of the Workforce Supplement must be in place to apply. More information on eligibility criteria can be found in the Workforce Supplement Guidelines.

Q: If an organisation is a Residential Aged Care provider with less than 50 places, does the organisation need to have an enterprise agreement in place before it can apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: No, if the organisation applies for the supplement, an undertaking must be made to the Department that workplace arrangements will be put in place that include all the minimum wage and other workplace commitment requirements of the Workforce Supplement. If there is an existing enterprise agreement at 1 July 2013, the provider may choose to give an undertaking to vary the existing enterprise agreement by 31 December 2013 to access the Workforce Supplement.

Q: If an organisation is a provider of Home Care Packages, does the organisation need to have an enterprise agreement in place before it can apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: No, from 1 August 2013, a provider of Home Care Packages who is intending to apply for the supplement must give an undertaking to the Department that a workplace arrangement will be put in place that includes all the requirements of the Workforce Supplement. If there is an existing enterprise agreement at 1 August 2013, an undertaking to vary the enterprise agreement by 31 December 2013 must be made.

Q: If an organisation is funded under programs other than Residential Aged Care and Home Care Packages, does the organisation need to have an enterprise agreement in place before it can apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: No, if you are intending to apply for the supplement, you must give an undertaking to the Department that you will put a workplace arrangement in place that includes all the requirements of the Workforce Supplement. If you have an existing enterprise at 1 August 2013, you must undertake to vary the enterprise agreement by 31 December 2013.

Q: Where an enterprise agreement is required, are all the workforce commitments required to be included in the enterprise agreement?

A: The minimum wage requirements must be included in any enterprise agreement. The other workforce commitments should be included where it is reasonable to do so and are not otherwise provided for in the business processes and policies of your organisation.

Q: To be eligible for the Workforce Supplement, do all employees employed by an approved provider or organisation need to be covered by an enterprise agreement or can some staff be covered under other employment arrangements?

A: Where an approved provider or organisation has applied for the Workforce Supplement, all employees need to be covered by a workplace arrangement or enterprise agreement that reflects the commitments of the Workforce Supplement. Employees engaged in providing or supporting residential aged care services with 50 allocated places or more must be covered by an enterprise agreement.

Employee Questions

Q: What benefits can I expect to see from the Workforce Supplement?

A: Aged care workers employed by aged care providers or organisations that meet the requirements of the Workforce Supplement will receive increased wages and better workplace conditions.

Q: What wage increases will I receive?

A: In order to be eligible for the Workforce Supplement, aged care employers must deliver:
  • minimum annual wage increases for all aged care employees of 2.75 per cent, or the Fair Work Australia Commission minimum annual wage increase, whichever is the greater; and.
  • a minimum margin over relevant award rates.
The Workforce Supplement is then passed onto employees as an additional wage increase of at least 1 per cent in 2013-14 to 2015-16, and an additional 0.5 per cent increase in 2016-17.

Further details regarding minimum wage and workplace commitments are set out in the Aged Care Workforce Supplement Guidelines.

Q: What if my employer does not apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: Additional funding will be provided only to aged care providers or organisations that meet the requirements, and apply for the Workforce Supplement.

Q: How will I know if my employer is receiving the Workforce Supplement?

Your employer is required to write to all employees advising that they have applied for the Workforce Supplement. A copy of this information to employees must be supplied with the Workforce Supplement application form.

The employer must pass on the minimum wage requirements as set out in the Aged Care Workforce Supplement Guidelines.

Q: I am employed by a state or territory government, can my employer apply for the Workforce Supplement?

A: Organisations whose staff are employed under State and Territory Government awards or public sector agreements are not eligible for the Workforce Supplement.

Q: Where can I find out more?

A: In the first instance, you should seek further information regarding wage increases and employment conditions from your employer.

Further information on the Workforce Supplement is available at the About the Aged Workforce Supplement page.

Further information for providers of Department of Veterans’ Affairs – Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) and Community Nursing program is available at: Department of Veterans' Affairs website.

Email enquiries can be forwarded to workforcesupplement@health.gov.au.

Details about Government programs to support the aged care workforce are at: www.health.gov.au/agedcareworkforce.
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Q: Why is reform important for residential care?

A: While older Australians prefer to receive care at home for as long as possible, there will also be an increasing demand for residential care. It is important that this care is available when it is required, and delivered in ways which meet the needs and preferences of older Australians. Reform is needed to secure the sustainability of the aged care system and ensure that residential care continues to be available and affordable in the long term.
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Q: What steps will the Government take to allow more residential care facilities to be built and ensure that demand for residential care is met into the future?

A: The Government is reforming aged care financing arrangements to give aged care providers the certainty they need so that more aged care homes can be built, and existing homes can be significantly refurbished.

The maximum accommodation supplement the Government pays providers on behalf of residents who cannot meet all of their own costs will increase from $32.58 per day to around $52.84 from 1 July 2014. This recognises the true cost of providing aged care accommodation and gives providers a greater level of certainty so that they can commit to building more facilities. The increased accommodation supplement will apply to aged care facilities that are built or significantly refurbished from 20 April 2012.
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Q: What constitutes a ‘significantly refurbished’ facility?

A: The Aged Care Financing Authority (the Authority) has provided the Minister with recommendations regarding the definition of significant refurbishment after consulting with industry on the matter. These recommendations were published on the Living Longer Living Better website on 9 November 2012. Following further feedback from stakeholders the Authority amended its recommendations to the Minister. The amended recommendations are available.

On 21 December 2012 the Minister announced the definition of Significant Refurbishment. This definition will assist Approved Providers to plan and complete improvements to residential aged services and satisfy eligibility requirements for the higher accommodation supplement.
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Q: What is the intention of having a higher level of accommodation supplement for facilities meeting the significant refurbishment criteria?

A: The Government currently pays an accommodation supplement in respect of residents who cannot meet all of their own accommodation costs, as determined by an asset test. From 1 July 2014, new means testing arrangements will be applied, and the maximum level of this supplement will be increased to $52.84. This new maximum amount recognises the true cost of providing aged care accommodation and will secure further building of facilities and provide a greater level of certainty for the industry.

The increased accommodation supplement will apply to aged care homes that are built or significantly refurbished on or after 20 April 2012.
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Q: What areas of the service can be significantly refurbished?

A: In order to meet the eligibility requirements for the higher accommodation supplement, Approved
Providers will need to meet the criteria within the definition of Significant Refurbishment.

Criterion a) indicates that the refurbishment predominantly provides benefit to residents, and significantly benefits supported residents. Providers should therefore give consideration when planning a Significant Refurbishment, to how to achieve those benefits and significant benefits.

Criterion c) indicates the refurbishment involves a significant refurbishment to a minimum of 40% of the beds in the facility.

While the criteria do not exclude any areas of the service from refurbishment, it may be more difficult to demonstrate the above benefits in areas such as administrative areas, kitchen or food storage areas, other storage areas, laundry areas, vehicle garaging areas. Refurbishment works that only improve the above types of areas of a facility would therefore be unlikely to meet the ‘benefits’ criteria.
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Q: Can the costs of upgrading the fire safety and sprinkler systems be claimed within my total significant refurbishment costs?

A: Yes. While improvements to service systems including safety systems such as fire and sprinkler can be included within the Significant Refurbishment, all criteria within the definition must be met.
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Q: What types of expenditure cannot be included within a providers Significant Refurbishment project?

A: Criterion (b) requires that the works are capitalised consistent with Australian Accounting Standards.

Therefore, expenditure that would be categorised as day to day servicing or repairs and maintenance (operational costs) should not be included within the costs of Significant Refurbishment. There must be a new asset or an improvement to an existing asset that is expected to be used into the future. For example, the cost of repainting a wall would not qualify. It is simply repairing the wall to its original condition.

Capital expenditure which either provides no direct benefit to residents or is considered by the Department to be outside the scope or intent of the Significant Refurbishment initiative should not be included with calculations of the minimum monetary value e.g. the cost of any all motorised transport vehicles.
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Q: Why are there different proportions of beds within criterion c)?

A: The cost or prescribed minimum monetary value of a Significant Refurbishment is based on a calculation that links the refurbishment to 40% of the beds within a service.

Criterion c. i) reflects the application of the prescribed minimum monetary value to the refurbishment of the existing service.

Criterion c. ii), recognises that some providers will elect to build new accommodation wings, the cost of which are typically higher than for refurbishments which do not include new wings. To reflect those higher costs, the proportion of beds required to be involved in the refurbishment is reduced from 40% to 25%.
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Q: I plan to build a new accommodation wing – what proportion of beds have to be available for use by supported residents?

A: Where a provider’s Significant Refurbishment includes the building of a new accommodation wing, criterion d) of the definition of Significant Refurbishment must be applied to;
    i) All beds within the new wing and,
    ii) Total beds following the refurbishment.
Example 1: A new wing of 20 beds is added to an existing service of 100 beds. The provider currently has 80% of those existing beds available for supported residents i.e. 80 beds.

The proportion of beds available to supported residents within the new wing is calculated as
20 x 80% = 16.

The proportion of total beds available to supported residents is calculated as;
120 x 80% = 96.
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Q: I want to improve the privacy and amenity of existing resident rooms but this will mean fewer beds – is this allowed under the definition of Significant Refurbishment?

A: Yes. Some providers may complete a Significant Refurbishment that has the effect of reducing the total number of beds within the service. This is allowed under the definition of Significant Refurbishment provided all the criteria are met, including that the proportion of beds available for supported residents is not reduced as a result of the Significant Refurbishment.

For example, prior to the refurbishment an 80 bed facility had 80% of its beds available for supported residents i.e. 64 beds. Following Significant Refurbishment its total bed number reduced to 70. The minimum number of beds that must remain available to supported residents is calculated as
70 x 80% = 56.
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Q: How much do I need to spend on my Significant Refurbishment to qualify for the higher accommodation supplement for eligible residents?

A: Criterion e) within the definition of Significant Refurbishment requires the cost of the refurbishment to meet a prescribed minimum monetary value.
  1. The following examples demonstrate the calculation of the minimum monetary value for Significant Refurbishments that do not include physical extensions to the service. Noting that the number of beds that must be involved in the improvements must be at least 40% of the total.

    In such cases, the minimum monetary value (the cost of the improvements) will need to meet a minimum level of $25,000 multiplied by 40% of the total number of beds in the service.
    • Example 1: As a result of the improvements, there are no changes in total bed numbers
      For a 100 bed facility the minimum monetary value is calculated as
      40% x 100 x $25,000 = $1,000,000.

      Where a change in bed numbers has occurred as a result of the Significant Refurbishment, for the purposes of calculating the minimum monetary value, the total number of beds in the service shall be the lower of the pre or post refurbishment bed numbers.
    • Example 2: Reduced bed numbers
      For a 100 bed facility which reduced its beds to 80 as a result of the Significant Refurbishment, the minimum monetary value is calculated as
      40% x 80 x $25,000 = $800,000.
    • Example 3: Increased bed numbers
      A 100 bed facility increased its beds to 102. The same aggregate level calculation based on 40% of total beds (the lower of pre or post refurbishment numbers) applies. The minimum monetary value is calculated as
      40% x 100 x $25,000 = $1,000,000.
  2. The following examples demonstrate the calculation of the minimum monetary value for Significant Refurbishments that include physical extensions to the size of the service and incorporate new beds i.e. new accommodation wings.

    In such cases, the calculation of the minimum monetary value for Significant Refurbishments recognises that new building costs are usually higher than those for refurbishing existing buildings, and therefore within criterion c ii) the requirement that 40% of beds be involved in the improvements is reduced to 25%.
    • Example 4: The refurbishment involves a physical extension to the size of the facility increasing the number of beds in the facility.
      A 50 bed facility builds a new accommodation wing incorporating 13 new beds. The total of beds is now 63 representing an increase of 26%. This exceeds the 25% of beds required by criterion c ii).

      The same aggregate level calculation applies based on the lower of pre or post refurbishment numbers, which in this example would be 50. Therefore the minimum monetary value of the refurbishment would be calculated as 40% x 50 x $25,000 = $500,000.
    • Example 5: A 100 bed facility builds a new accommodation wing incorporating 40 new beds, while reducing by 10 the number of beds in the existing service. Therefore the net total of beds is 130, an increase of 30%.

      The same aggregate level calculation applies based on the lower of pre or post refurbishment bed numbers. The minimum monetary value is calculated as 40% x 100 x $25,000 = $1,000,000.
    • Example 6: The refurbishment involves a physical extension to the size of the facility increasing the number of beds in the facility by less than 25%.
      A 100 bed facility builds a new accommodation wing incorporating 15 new beds. Therefore the net total of beds is 115, an increase of 15%.

      In this case the threshold of criterion c ii) i.e. 25% has not been met, however criterion c i) may still be met where the provider elects to make additional improvements to the existing service. In those cases the proportion of beds involved in the improvements to the existing service, when added to those of the new wing are equal to at least 40% of the total of pre refurbishment beds (lower than post refurbishment).

      40% of the pre refurbishment number = 40 beds. There were 15 beds involved in the new wing; therefore improvements to the existing service must involve at least 25 beds (25 + 15 = 40).
      The minimum monetary value is calculated as: 40% x 100 x $25,000 = $1,000,000.
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Q: How will aged care reform improve residential care for consumers?

A: Older Australians entering residential aged care will have more flexibility and choice about how they pay for their accommodation costs. The scope for residents to purchase additional services and amenities will be substantially widened, while still ensuring equity of access to residential care for all older Australians. Consumer Directed Care will be trialled in residential aged care to allow consumers and carers to exercise more power and choice in the design and delivery of their care. Older people living in regional, rural and remote areas will have improved access to residential aged care.
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Q: How will the Government improve access to residential aged care for people living in regional, rural and remote areas?

A: Under aged care reform, resources will be targeted to the areas of aged care that are most in need. In general, it is more expensive to build and deliver aged care services in non-urban areas, compared to urban areas. A viability supplement will continue to be made available to eligible providers operating in regional, rural and remote areas. This will ensure access to services for all older Australians regardless of where they live.

The Government is also streamlining its assistance to providers in these areas by combining its current aged care capital grants programs into a single Rural, Regional and Other Special Needs Building Fund - around $51 million will be available for the fund each year.

Further, the final zero real interest loans funding round will be run in conjunction with the 2012 Aged Care Approvals Round and will make available $150 million in low-cost loans to assist aged care providers build or extend residential aged care services in identified areas of need. In general, these areas of need are rural and regional areas across Australia.
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Extra Service Arrangements
Q: What is ‘extra service’?

A: Currently, some aged care homes provide what is called ‘extra service’. This means that the home is able to provide its residents with a higher standard of accommodation and services at an additional cost to the resident.

Extra service does not mean that residents will be provided with a higher standard of care (such as nursing). This is because all aged care homes have to provide the same high quality care to all of their residents. If you pay for extra service, you may receive, for instance, a bigger room or wine with your meals.

Under the current arrangements, there is limited scope for aged care residents to purchase extra services.
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Q: What will happen to extra service arrangements in the future?

A: New extra service arrangements will apply from 1 July 2014 and will give all people in aged care homes the option to purchase additional services.

Residents in all aged care homes, whether or not the home has ‘extra service’ status, will be able to purchase optional additional services, such as enhanced entertainment or lifestyle choices, for an additional fee. In addition, homes will be able to apply to offer a capped number of aged care places dedicated to providing services solely on an 'extra service' basis, which will offer residents a higher level of amenities and hotel-type services. Homes that have ‘extra service’ status prior to 1 July 2014 will continue to provide extra services under existing arrangements.

All aged care homes that do not have ‘extra service’ status will still be required to offer the option of a basic standard of services to residents free of any additional charge.
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Aged Care Approval Round
Q: Will there be changes to the Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) process?

A: Changes to the aged care system are being progressively implemented over a number of years. Any changes, for example, removing the distinction between high and low care, will be incorporated into the approval and administrative process of the ACAR as required.

The 2012-13 ACAR commenced on Saturday 10 November 2012. Further information is available on the Department of Health and Ageing website.
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Increase in Residential Aged Care Places
Q: How many more residential aged care places will be made available?

A: The number of residential aged care places will increase by 34 per cent over the next decade, providing more than 65,200 new residential places on top of the 191,500 residential places that are expected to be operational during 2012-13. A total of 7,775 residential aged care places will be allocated as part of the 2012-13 Aged Care Approval Round, announced on 5 July 2013. Information on the 2012-13 ACAR is available on the Department of Health and Ageing website.
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Q: How is the number of residential aged care places determined?

A: The number of residential aged care places expected to be operational in each year is based on national planning benchmarks that aim to provide a certain number of places per 1,000 people aged 70 years and over.
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Means Testing
Q: How will means testing arrangements change for residential care recipients?

A: The amount that consumers contribute towards the cost of residential aged care will depend on a care recipient’s individual circumstances.

From 1 July 2014, the Government will combine the current income and assets test to ensure a consistent fees policy for anyone entering residential care after this date. This will address the issue of asset-rich, income-poor residents paying for all of their accommodation and nothing for care, and income-rich, asset-poor residents paying for their care but not for accommodation.

The new means testing arrangement for residential care will ensure greater fairness and consistency in how older Australians contribute to the cost of the service they need.
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Q: Will the family home be treated differently under the reform?

A: The family home is currently exempt from the aged care assets test if occupied by a spouse or other protected person. This will continue under the new means testing arrangements. Where the resident’s former home is included as an assessable asset, its value for the purposes of the test will be capped at $144,500 (March 2012 prices).
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Q: How will the level of care subsidy the Government pays providers on behalf of residents be affected by the new means testing arrangements?

A: From 1 July 2014, the level of care subsidy payable to a provider on behalf of a care recipient will depend on the care recipient’s assessable income and means tested assets. The level of subsidy will reflect the care recipient’s capacity to contribute to the cost of the care services they receive.
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Q: What will be done to protect residents with higher than average care fees?

A: Under the new means testing arrangement for residential care, no one will pay more than $25,000 per annum in means tested care fees. A lifetime cap of $60,000 will apply to means tested care fees paid in residential care and income tested care fees paid in home care to protect aged care recipients who receive care over a longer period of time. Both the annual and lifetime caps will be indexed. The annual and lifetime caps do not apply to basic daily fees or accommodation payments.
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Q: Once the annual cap or lifetime cap is reached for a care recipient, will the provider receive the full subsidy?

A: Yes. Providers will receive the full subsidy once the annual cap of $25,000 or the lifetime cap of $60,000 is reached.
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Assessment For Aged Care Services
Q: When will a common assessment process be available across different types of aged care?

A: Through the Assessment Framework and Tool for Aged Care project, work has started on the standardised assessment process for both basic home support services and comprehensive aged care assessment. Standardised assessment processes will be developed and trialled in 2013 to ensure consistency and alignment of the information being collected from people, wherever they enter the aged care system. A single client record will be implemented to reduce the duplication and the repetition that currently exists.
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Q: On what basis will approval be provided or denied on fees that providers may charge for aged care services?

A: In providing advice on pricing issues, the Aged Care Financing Authority will be required to balance the need for competitive wages and reasonable returns on investment with issues of sustainability.
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Viability Supplement
Q: What will happen to the viability supplement under the Living Longer Living Better package?

A: A viability supplement is currently paid to eligible providers operating in regional, rural and remote areas as well as those that care for specific groups of highly vulnerable older Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and older people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. The viability supplement will continue to provide additional Government support to these aged care providers. Previous budget measures which were due to expire on 30 June 2012 will become an ongoing part of the viability supplement, including:
  • A 40 per cent increase in the level of the viability supplement;
  • Additional funding for aged care homes in very remote to moderately accessible locations that target low care;
  • Additional funding for eligible aged care homes that provide specialist aged care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; and
  • Additional funding for eligible aged care homes that provide specialist aged care services to people with a history of (or who may be at severe risk of) homelessness.
The Government expects to provide more than $280 million in viability supplements to aged care providers over the next five years.
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Consumer Directed Care
Q: What is Consumer Directed Care?

A: Consumer Directed Care, or self-directed care, allows older people and their carers to make choices about the types of care services they receive and the delivery of those services, including who will deliver the services and when. Consumer Directed Care gives the individual a greater say in decisions about their care. The Government has been trialling the Consumer Directed Care model in a limited number of Home Care Packages over the past two years.
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Q: Will Consumer Directed Care be available in residential care and if so, when?

A: Yes. Consumer Directed Care will also be introduced into residential care. It will be developed and trialled in 2013-14 and evaluated in 2014-15. The evaluation will be used to inform decisions on how best to implement the Consumer Directed Care model in the residential setting into the future.
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Consumer support and research

Q: How will aged care reform improve consumer support?

A: Advocacy services play an important role in helping aged care consumers to represent themselves and assisting those who are unable to act on their own behalf. From
July 2013, the Government will provide extra funding to increase the capacity of the National Aged Care Advocacy Program to meet demand for advocacy services, particularly in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia.

Increased funding will also be provided for the Community Visitors Scheme. The Scheme currently provides one to one companionship to socially or culturally isolated people living in aged care homes. From July 2013, the additional funding will help accommodate demand for services and will allow the scheme to be expanded to include visits to people receiving assistance through Home Care Packages and group visits in residential aged care.

Increasing the use of technology, through online chat rooms, virtual senior centres, blogs, video conferencing facilities and/or discussion boards, will enable socially and culturally isolated older people in rural, regional and remote areas to remain connected with their community.
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Q: Why is reform needed to support aged care research?

A: Currently, there is limited publicly available data and evidence in aged care on how it works with the health and community sector. A strong evidence base is essential for providing the best possible outcomes on aged care policy.
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Q: How will the reforms contribute to improvements in aged care research?

A: The Government will provide funding to establish a Data Clearing House within the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to provide data to stakeholders including policy makers, researchers and consumers. The Government will also provide funding to increase the frequency of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers from every six years to every three years.
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Better Health Care Connections

Q: Why is aged care reform important to strengthen the connections between the health and aged care systems?

A: Aged care recipients face significant barriers to accessing multidisciplinary health services, including specialist palliative care services. Aged care providers are increasingly involved in the delivery of complex palliative and other short term, more intensive health care services. It is critical that the health needs of aged care recipients are effectively met, in order to promote better quality of life for older Australians and reduce preventable hospitalisations.
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Q: How will aged care reform build stronger connections between aged care and the health and hospitals system?

A: The links between aged care and the health and hospital system will be strengthened through funding to support:
  • aged care providers to deliver better palliative care,
  • initiatives that encourage aged care providers to work with public and private health care providers and medical insurers to deliver short term more intensive health services,
  • the application of research to achieve improvements in care delivery, and
  • increased access to multidisciplinary care for clients of both residential and home care services, as well as improved access to GPs through use of video consultation.
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Q: How will aged care reform increase access to multidisciplinary care?

A: Aged care reform will improve the health and well-being of older people by providing support for increased provision of multidisciplinary care for aged care recipients, encompassing general practitioners, nurses and other primary health care providers, specialists and aged care providers.

Support for multidisciplinary care includes establishing an aged care multidisciplinary care coordination and advisory service (Aged Care Coordinators) through a trial in nine locations across Australia. It also includes, funding a pilot that will deliver General Practitioner (GP) consultations to aged care recipients in residential aged care facilities by videoconference.
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Q: What will be funded under the pilot of GP video consultations to residents of aged care facilities?

A: The pilot providing funding for GPs to deliver consultations by video to aged care residents will improve residents’ access to primary health care services and also facilitate GP involvement in multidisciplinary care.

Funding offered will contain an administration component to support residential aged care facilities with establishing and administering telehealth arrangements with local GPs. The majority of the funding available will be to cover clinical service payments to be made to GPs for video consultation services delivered.
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Palliative Care
Q: What measures will be taken to help aged care providers deliver better palliative care?

A: Aged care providers will have direct access to specialist palliative care and advance care planning advisory services.

Funding will begin in 2012-13 and will be ongoing, with grant applications being sought from existing and new providers to deliver innovative advisory services in each jurisdiction.

The Government will also increase funding for the existing Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) to allow it to provide more training for aged care workers.
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Q: How will the funding aimed at supporting aged care providers to deliver better palliative care be allocated between the various elements?

A: Funding of $21.7 million over five years has been allocated to help providers deliver better palliative care to aged care clients. It is currently envisaged that the training (PEPA) component will receive $200,000 in the first year and $400,000 indexed each year after that. The remaining funds will be allocated to the operation of advisory services through a competitive process.
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Q: Why is the first year’s funding much lower than in succeeding years?

A: The funding recognises that it will take time to negotiate contracts and recruit the additional staff needed to deliver these services.
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Q: Why do recipients of aged care services find it more difficult to access specialist palliative care services?

A: Access varies across the country but it is thought that specialist community palliative care services give priority to people living in the community who are not already receiving formal care services. Hospital palliative care services are available but most people prefer to receive care in their usual place of residence.
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Q: What other training and support is available to staff of aged care services to help them provide better quality palliative care?

A: Palliative care is already a component of the Certificate III aged care qualification. In addition, the Government has funded two sets of guidelines to assist the staff of aged care services, and health professionals such as GPs providing care to clients of aged care services. One set of guidelines focuses on residential aged care services and the other on community aged care services. Training resources are available for the residential guidelines and are currently being developed for the community guidelines.
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Q: What measures will be taken to support the translation of research into everyday practice and care delivery?

A: The Government has committed $19.4 million over five years to support the implementation of innovative ways of delivering aged care services, and support translation of research into everyday practice and actual care delivery.

This funding builds on the successful Encouraging Better Practice in Aged Care (EBPAC) initiative which aims to encourage and support the uptake of evidence-based, person-centred, better practice in aged care services.

Funds will be allocated to projects through a competitive process under the Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants (ACSIHAG) round.
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Q: How much funding will support the Better Health Care Connections: Models for Short Term, More Intensive Health Care for Aged Care Recipients Initiative?

A: The Government is providing $25 million to support initiatives to encourage aged care providers to work with public and private health care providers and medical insurers to deliver short term, more intensive health care services. The Government is providing this funding over five years from 2012-13 for seed grants to develop innovative models of health care services for aged care recipients. To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be an approved provider of residential or community aged care with at least one operational service.
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Q: What types of short term, more intensive health care services may be provided to aged care recipients?

A: The health care services may range from hospital in-reach subacute care services such as palliative and psycho-geriatric care provided in residential or community settings, to a small number of simple interventions provided in aged care homes which potentially reduce unnecessary transfers to hospital. The funding will also contribute to the development of a wider range of health care service offerings for aged care recipients. For example, psycho geriatric services may include health care services for dementia and mild to moderate mental health, for example anxiety and depression. Better and more innovative connections can also be made with directly related specific programs such as Transition Care and Day Therapy Centres and the palliative care innovative advisory services.
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Q: How will these short term, more intensive health care services for aged care recipients be funded?

A: Additional health care services will be provided by accredited hospitals, medical practitioners and other eligible health care providers using existing health care service funding and regulatory frameworks. As part of this arrangement aged care providers will continue to provide Specified Care and Services as required by the Aged Care Act 1997. Aged care providers are encouraged to work with Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks to address gaps in health care services provided for aged care recipients in their care. Integration with other health and aged care reforms will assist aged care recipients by improving access to better coordinated health care and promoting more efficient use of resources and navigation between service providers and health services.
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Q: How will the innovative models be promoted in the aged care sector?

A: Successful grant recipients will be required to develop promotional materials for their innovative models to encourage uptake of practice within the aged care sector in the long term. Innovative models developed under the initiative will be assessed through an independent evaluation. The Department will engage with stakeholders during the development of this project through an Expert Reference Group. It will also engage with the Expert Reference Group to disseminate promotional materials to the aged care sector. Timing of the distribution of promotional material will be dependent on the duration of individual seed grants.
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Q: What are the longer term benefits for aged care recipients and service providers?

A: This initiative will develop innovative models which build better health care connections between existing health and aged care services to improve the way the aged care system works within the broader health system. It will improve access to more complex health care services for aged care recipients to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions or shorten the length of hospital stays. The initiative will also promote the broad uptake of innovative models by the aged care sector over the long term and contribute to the development of a more skilled and flexible aged care sector.
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Older Australians from Diverse Backgrounds

Q: Why is aged care reform important for people from diverse backgrounds?

A: Older people seeking to access aged care services are increasingly from diverse backgrounds. It is important that aged care services are sensitive to the diverse needs and backgrounds of individual care recipients. People with diverse needs also need to have require appropriate access to information and support from aged care providers who are more aware of and responsive to their needs.
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Q: What will aged care reform achieve for people from diverse backgrounds?

A: The Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package will better support the aged care needs of Australians from diverse backgrounds by:
  • improving the skills and knowledge of aged care providers to meet the care needs of diverse populations;
  • making additional places available to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with complex high care needs to stay close to their homes in culturally appropriate care;
  • providing better services for veterans receiving Home Care Packages, residential aged care and community based places within flexible aged care programs;
  • supporting training to help aged care workers be better equipped to support older people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community; and
  • providing more assistance for older people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
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Q. Will the reforms have an impact on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program?

A: Yes. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program will be expanded as part of the reforms. An additional 200 aged care places will be made available for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote and very remote locations around Australia. This will allow a greater number of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with complex care needs to stay close to their homes and receive culturally appropriate care.
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Q: How will the reforms support aged care providers to be better equipped to meet the care needs of people from diverse backgrounds?

A: Aged care providers will have more access to training, information and expert assistance to equip them with the skills and knowledge to meet the care needs of diverse populations.
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Q: What support will be available to support veterans with an accepted mental health condition?

A: There is currently no additional funding provided for veterans with mental health conditions associated, for example, with post-traumatic stress disorder who are receiving Home Care Packages. The Government will introduce a new funding supplement to provide additional financial assistance to providers of Home Care Packages, to help them deliver more appropriate care to veterans with an accepted mental health condition. Additional funding will also be available in residential aged care to help with the care of veterans with an accepted mental health condition.
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Q: What will be done to assist older people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness?

A: The Government currently funds the Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA) program, which links older Australians who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless, with suitable accommodation and care services. As part of the aged care reform package, the Government will provide $7.3 million over five years to expand the ACHA program. The expansion will focus on regional and remote areas, where the incidence of older people who are homeless is highest, and will support an additional 900 people each year.
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Q: What will the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Aged Care Strategy and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Ageing and Aged Care Strategy achieve?

A: These strategies will provide advice and guidance to help inform the way Government responds to the needs of older people from these diverse groups and better supports the aged care sector to deliver care that is sensitive to their needs.
These strategies will include measurable action items to enable Government to provide more accessible and appropriate care to consumers. The strategies will also guide policy developers and program managers about future funding priorities to better meet these diverse needs.
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Building a system for the future

Q: Why is aged care reform important?

A: The Productivity Commission’s report, Caring for Older Australians highlighted the difficulty that consumers have in navigating the current aged care system.
  • Information is not easily available or reliable and assessment processes are often repetitive and inconsistent
  • Sources of information are wide and varied, often difficult to access and understand and do not support informed decision making
  • There is high demand for more choice, more control and easier access to a full range of services
  • There is a perceived lack of independence and transparency in aged care governance arrangements
  • There is a need for independent advice on pricing and financing issues.
Older people, their families and carers need to be able to access reliable and up to date information. The quality of aged care services also requires greater transparency.

The Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms will be implemented in stages to enable consumers and service providers to gain early benefits from key changes, while ensuring that everybody has time to adapt and plan ahead for further reform.
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My Aged Care (The Aged Care Gateway)

Consumers

Q: What is My Aged Care?

A: My Aged Care is an Australian Government website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) and national phone line (1800 200 422) providing up-to-date information about Australia’s aged care system and services.

Q: Why do we need My Aged Care?

A: The Australian Government has recognised that the aged care system is hard to understand and that finding information is difficult.

My Aged Care will make it easier for you to access information on aged care, have your needs assessed and find services within your local area.

Q: What will My Aged Care actually do?

A: My Aged Care will provide you with information about the aged care system and how to access services within your local area. You can call 1800 200 422 or visit the My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au).

Q: How can My Aged Care help me?

A: My Aged Care can help you find clear and reliable information on the aged care system and information about aged care services provided in your local area.

The My Aged Care website will include information on aged care, information on healthy and active living and support to find health and aged care services.

The My Aged Care phone line will provide:
  • up-to-date information on aged care
  • help with using the My Aged Care website
  • referrals to assessment services
  • information about carer support services
  • written information upon request.

Q: When will I be able to use My Aged Care?

A: You can use My Aged Care from July 2013 via the My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) or the My Aged Care phone line (1800 200 422).

Q: Who can call the My Aged Care phone line?

A: Anyone can call the My Aged Care phone line to get information on aged care, help with using the My Aged Care website, or ask for details of aged care services in their local area.

Q: When can I call the My Aged Care phone line?

A: You can call the My Aged Care phone line from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 10am-2pm Saturday (your local time). The My Aged Care phone line will be closed on Sundays and national public holidays.

Q: How will My Aged Care be implemented?

A: My Aged Care will be implemented in stages from July 2013.

In 2013, My Aged Care will provide a point of contact for you to find clear and reliable information about aged care, as well as information about aged care services in your local area.

The Government will continue to improve the functionality of My Aged Care to improve your aged care system.

Q: Will more elements be added to My Aged Care over the next 12-months?

A: Yes. In 2014, My Aged Care will be able to:
  • assess your aged care needs
  • record your details so you don’t need to re-tell your story many times
  • report on the quality and availability of aged care services, to help you make informed choices about care
  • provide a Linking Service to help people with more complex needs to access a range of aged care and other relevant services
  • refer you to carer support services.

Q: What will happen to the existing Department of Health and Ageing aged care websites?

A: The My Aged Care website will replace www.seniors.gov.au and www.agedcareaustralia.gov.au

Q: What will happen to the current aged care telephone numbers?

A: The number for My Aged Care will be 1800 200 422.

The My Aged Care phone number will replace the Aged Care Information Line (1800 500 853).

Q: Will I be able to choose which service provider I receive services from?

A: Yes. My Aged Care will let you know what service providers are in your local area. You can choose which service provider you wish to contact.

Q: Will My Aged Care know what aged care services are in my local area?

A: My Aged Care has up-to-date information about aged care services across Australia.

You will be able to find services in your local area on the My Aged Care website.

If you call the My Aged Care phone line, they will tell you what services are in your local area and, over time, will be able to let you know about the availability of those services.
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Service Providers

Q: What impact will My Aged Care have on aged care service providers from July 2013?

A: My Aged Care will focus on providing up-to-date information to consumers to help them navigate the aged care system. In doing so it will provide referrals for assessment and service provision.

Q: Will all new clients need to contact My Aged Care before they can access my services?

A: No. From July 2013, consumers may continue to contact service providers directly, as they do now.

Over time, My Aged Care will become the main entry point for access to aged care services.

Q: What will happen to Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres (CRCCs) when My Aged Care is introduced?

A: Calls to 1800 200 422 will be diverted from Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres (CRCCs) to My Aged Care.

CRCCs will continue to answer calls about respite and carer support received through 1800 052 222 and 1800 059 059.

Q: What will happen to existing Access Points and intake services?

A: In 2013, current arrangements for Access Points and other intake services will remain the same. My Aged Care will refer clients to Access Points and established intake points.

Q: Will My Aged Care have an after-hours service?

A: No. My Aged Care will not operate an after-hours service.

Existing practices for managing after hours calls within the aged care sector will remain the same.

People in emergency situations should call 000.

People who need emergency respite services should call 1800 059 059.

Q: What will happen to the existing Commonwealth aged care numbers?

A: 1800 200 422 - This number is currently answered by CRCCs and will be transferred to the My Aged Care national contact centre from July 2013.

1800 500 853 - The Aged Care Information Line will be decommissioned with calls redirected to the My Aged Care contact centre from July 2013.

1800 900 554 - The Aged Care Helpdesk line for information on fees and charges will be decommissioned with calls redirected to the My Aged Care contact centre from July 2013. Calls relating to the Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms or aged care funding (including the Aged Care Approvals Round) will be redirected to 1800 057 616.

Q: How will My Aged Care know what services my organisation provides?

A: The Department holds information about service providers. In May 2013, the Department contacted some service providers to collect further information about their services.

This information will be available via the search function on the My Aged Care website and through the My Aged Care contact centre.

From July 2013, if you would like to update your service details, please call 1800 200 422.

Q: How will My Aged Care refer clients to my service?

A: From July 2013, My Aged Care will provide contact details for your service to clients, or transfer callers to you directly, where appropriate.

Individuals will retain the ability to directly contact service providers, Access Points and Aged Care Assessment Teams without going through My Aged Care.

Over time, My Aged Care will become the main entry point for access to aged care services.

Q: What information will My Aged Care provide when it refers a client to my organisation?

A: My Aged Care will provide the client’s name, contact number and where possible, details about their situation. Referrals will be provided via phone, email or fax.

Q: What avenue will service providers have to feedback on referral issues?

A: Service providers will be able to lodge feedback in relation to referrals through the email address on the My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) or by calling the My Aged Care contact centre (1800 200 422).

Q: After My Aged Care is introduced, will Home and Community Care (HACC) service providers still be required to assess clients to determine their care needs?

A: Yes. Initially, there will be no changes to HACC assessments.
In 2013, My Aged Care will refer clients to HACC service providers for assessments. Individuals can also approach a HACC service provider directly.

In 2014, an assessment capability will be available through the My Aged Care contact centre as an overlay to the current HACC system.

Q: Will the assessment process change with the introduction of My Aged Care?

A: In 2013, there will be no changes to assessment arrangements and existing Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) services.
Older people interested in a Home Care Package or residential care should be referred to an ACAT.
In 2014, aged care assessments for HACC services will be introduced to the My Aged Care contact centre, including face-to-face assessments, where required.

Q: If a client requires an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team, will I need to refer them to My Aged Care?

A: From July 2013, service providers will not be required to refer clients seeking an assessment to My Aged Care.

Where a service provider identifies a person as needing a comprehensive assessment they should refer them directly to an Aged Care Assessment Team.
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Health Professionals

Q: As a health professional, what will be the major impacts on my work practices from July 2013?

A: When My Aged Care is implemented in July 2013, you will not need to change your work practices other than telling your patients about the commencement of My Aged Care.

The main changes, which will impact you will commence in 2014 and include:
  • referring your patients to My Aged Care for ACAT assessments
  • promoting My Aged Care as the entry point for aged care information and access to services.

Q: How can I refer a patient to My Aged Care?

A: From July 2013, you will be able to refer your clients to My Aged Care through the website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) or contact centre (1800 200 422).
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Aged Care Financing Authority

Q: Will the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) be transparent and independent?

A: ACFA will provide transparent advice to Government on pricing and funding in aged care, promoting the ongoing sustainability of the aged care industry, and ensuring equitable access and value for money for aged care recipients. It has an independent chair, and comprises a committee of members with expertise in provision of aged care services, consumer and workforce representation, and finance and Government representatives.
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Q: How will the ACFA operate?

A: A Revised Operating Framework for Aged Care Financing Regulatory Arrangements has been released by the Government. This Framework includes details of ACFA’s operating arrangements and work plan.
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Q: Will the ACFA’s pricing recommendations be made public?

A: ACFA will publish any recommendations it makes to the Minister within 28 days of providing them to the Minister. Advice on what constitutes significant refurbishment was published on 9 November 2012, 28 days after the supplementary advice was provided to the Minister.
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Q: Why is the high/low care distinction being removed?

A: The distinction between low and high level care is out-dated and results in some recipients of high level care receiving particular items, for example continence aids and walking frames, free of charge, while others receiving low level care pay for these out of their own pocket. Older Australians receiving low level care also have less access to subsidised nursing and therapy services. This distinction is not consistent with the Aged Care Funding Instrument, which funds all care recipients according to their needs.

Aged care residents also have limited scope to purchase additional amenities (e.g. more expensive food or entertainment options) or supplementary care services from their residential care provider. The Schedule of Specified Care and Services for high and low care sets out what is to be covered by fees and subsidies. Currently, if a service or product is on the list, a provider cannot charge higher fees, even if the quality provided is of a much higher standard than average.

From 1 July 2014, the high/low distinction in residential care will be removed, following a review of the Schedule of Specified Care and Services. This will ensure that aged care residents are given greater control and choice over their care.

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