New flexible respite program shifts the focus to carers
KinCare has launched the country’s first ‘truly flexible’ respite model designed to work around carers’ needs and schedules.
Funded by the Commonwealth Home Support Program, the new services are being rolled out in the ACT, NSW and WA – with other states expected to follow.
KinCare’s CEO Jason Howie, said the new model breaks down the barriers of accessing respite by removing fixed dates and times.
“Carers play an important role in our communities, yet the majority struggle to find time to care for themselves because respite options have become too rigid.
If we’re serious about increasing access to respite then it must be flexible and it needs to work within an environment that changes from day-to-day.”
Under the new suite of flexible respite arrangements a KinCare customer care manager would conduct a detailed assessment with each carer and care recipient to plan services that best meet their needs.
“Services can range from a few hours per week, to take a Zumba class, go for a swim, pamper themselves or simply visit friends, to live-in care that allows the normal carer to have a longer break.”
Carers NSW recently surveyed 1800 carers finding that a third had never accessed respite.
Elena Katrakis, CEO of Carers NSW, said prioritising the development of diverse, flexible respite options is a must amid ongoing changes to aged care, disability and carer service systems.
“Our survey confirmed that there simply isn’t enough flexible respite options and people are still unsure of how to access it.”
Katrakis said that many carers find respite gives them much needed time out from caring, allowing them to focus on their own health and well-being, spend time with family members and friends, or pursue education or employment.
“As our disability and aged care systems focus more and more on care recipients, it is getting harder for carers to access the respite they need.
“Respite needs to be made more accessible to carers rather than having to ring around various departments and being put on a waiting list that you never hear back from,” Ms Katrakis said.
Jason Howie said the new program will benefit both carers and KinCare customers.
“The new services model will provide the flexibility carers desperately need to take a break from their daily responsibilities — to take time out day or night – to enjoy the everyday life moments that are important to them. It is unfortunately common in this sector to find the carers struggle without any real support, and don’t get a much needed break to care for themselves.”
Find out more about Flexible Respite services
About Carers NSW
Carers NSW is the peak non-government organisation for carers in NSW and works with all carers regardless of their age, location, life-stage or circumstances. This includes those caring for individuals with support needs relating to ageing, disability, health and mental illness.
Demystifying ‘My Aged Care’ letters
A Home Care Package is one form of aged care funding provided by the Australian Government to help older Australians obtain the necessary care to live safely and independently at home.
If you’ve contacted My Aged Care about a funding package, you’ll receive a number of letters from them as you progress through the funding process.
But what do these letters mean? It might seem a bit daunting but KinCare is here to help every way we can.
To make things a little easier for you, we’ve put together a simple guide that explains the importance of each letter and what you need to do next.
Letter 1. The Welcome & Aged Care ID letter
Why did I get it?
You’ll receive this letter after you’ve registered with My Aged Care to apply for a subsidised Home Care Package.
Why is it important?
This letter has your Unique Aged Care ID. Your unique Aged Care ID is linked to your personal details and is used by My Aged Care staff and by KinCare to confirm your identity.
Keep this letter in a handy place. You’ll need to use this ID every time you call the Department or speak with KinCare about using care services and your Home Care Package. If you misplace your ID, call KinCare on 1300 733 510 and we’ll help find it for you.
What happens next?
A professional Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT or ACAS in Victoria) assessor will visit you at home to discuss what support services will best meet your needs in order to make sure you can access the right care at the right time.
Letter 2. The Approval and Waiting List letter
Why did I get it?
You’ll receive this letter after your home assessment (up to 8 weeks) and if you’re eligible for a Home Care Package.
Why is it important?
In short, this letter explains four key things that you need to know.
- It confirms your Home Care Package approval.
- It notifies you that you’re now on the waiting list to have your Home Care Package assigned to you.
- It may also contain a list of Referral Codes for aged care services. You’ll need the codes to access these services once your Home Care Package is ready to access and use.
- Keep this letter and the Referral Codes in a handy place, as you’ll need to use the codes once you have received your funding.
What happens next?
Being on the waiting list can take anywhere from two weeks to two years. Once you’re at the top of the list, you’ll receive a Funding Approval letter. We’ll explain this letter below.
If you need help and support immediately, ask us about KinCare Private Care services. It can help fill the care-gap whilst you wait for your Home Care Package funding.
At this stage you can start looking for care services in your area that you’ll need. It’s a good idea to get in touch with KinCare at this time, as we’ll be happy to help you find the services that suit you best.
Letter 3. The Funding Approval letter
Why did I get it?
This is the letter you’ve been waiting for. It provides confirmation you can now use your Home Care Package, which is great news for you.
Why is it important?
The letter explains the level of Home Care Package you’ve received.
You’ll have 56 days to start using your package. If you need a bit more time, you can ask My Aged Care for a 28-day extension, or KinCare can do it for you.
It’s important to know that if you don’t start using your Home Care Package within the 56-days or before the 28-day extension finishes, your funding package will expire.
If your package does expire, you can call My Aged Care or KinCare to let us know if you still want a Home Care Package, and you’ll be placed back on the waiting list at the end of the queue.
What happens next?
Now that you have your funding, call KinCare on 1300 733 510 and we will arrange for one of our friendly Customer Care Managers to visit you and put together a care plan tailored to suit your individual needs. If we don’t have a service you want, we can help you find a suitable provider to support you.
You may be asked to pay for part of the care service. The first step is getting a formal income assessment from the Department of Human Services. You can call them on 1800 227 475 for details.
Letter 4. The reminder to use your Funding letter
Why did I get it?
This is a reminder letter for you to choose your care service providers and start using your Home Care Package before the end of the 56-days after you received your funding.
Why is it important?
We don’t want you lose funding, so please call us as soon as you receive this letter, or call My Aged Care, to ask for a 28-day extension.
Working together, we can find the right care services you’ll need. By having an extra 28 days extension, it’ll help remove the worry of losing your funding. Plus, it gives us both the time to match the right care for your needs at home.
What happens next?
Call KinCare on 1300 733 510 or contact My Aged Care immediately and ask for a 28-day extension so you don’t lose your funding. And don’t panic. We can help you find to find the right services to suit your needs so you can start using your Home Care Package.
Letter 5. The service package has expired letter
Why did I get it?
Unfortunately you’ll receive this letter if both the 56-days and the 28-days of extension have lapsed and you haven’t started using your Home Care Package.
Why is it important?
It’s confirmation you no longer have access to your Home Care Package and the funding for care services.
What happens next?
If your package expires, you can call KinCare on 1300 733 510My Aged Care to let them know if you still want a Home Care Package. Once you’ve called, you’ll be placed back on the waiting list for the next available package.
We’ll be there to help walk you through the funding approval process.
If you need help and support immediately, ask us about our Private Care Services. It can help fill the care-gap whilst you wait for your Home Care Package funding.
We’re here to help
Applying for a Home Care Package can be daunting exercise. That’s where we can help. We’re always happy to explain the 5 Step Process to apply for a Home Care Package. View the 5 steps here or call us on 1300 733 510.
Still need help?
If you’re not sure what to do next, call one of our friendly team members on 1300 733 510, we’re here to help.
Five reasons you should get online
Learning basic internet skills, such as using email, surfing the internet and participating in social media, can provide lots of benefits for your health and wellbeing – without even leaving the house. Here are five reasons you should give it a go:
1. To stay close to family and friends
Using email and social media such as Facebook and Twitter are easy ways to stay connected with family and friends no matter how far away you are. No more waiting for letters and photos to arrive in the mail. With email, messages, photos and videos can be shared instantly, and thanks to technologies like Skype, you can video call your loved ones and catch up face-to-face.
2. To keep mentally active and informed
The internet provides a wealth of information at your fingertips. Keep up-to-date with what’s happening in your community or around the world by reading news and searching the internet. You can also access important information about healthcare, medical issues or financial advice.
3. To relieve social isolation and loneliness
Getting out in the community with likeminded people can be difficult when you get older. Thanks to the internet, there are online groups and forums for almost every topic or interest. With a bit of searching, you can find people who share your interests and communicate with them regularly through online forums.
4. To maintain your independence
You can do almost everything online – from paying bills and transferring money, to ordering groceries, buying products and booking appointments. By going online you can maintain control of your personal finances for longer, and continue to feel independent.
5. To give your family peace of mind
Email and social media make it easy and convenient to check-in regularly or daily with your family to let them know you’re okay. This can give your loved ones peace of mind and help you to continue to live in your own home for longer.
If you’re interested in learning more about using a computer and the internet, KinCare’s Social Connect Programme might be just the thing for you. To find out more about how KinCare can help you use email and social media, enqire now or simply call us on 1300 733 510.
Still a player
“My violin is my oldest, most cherished possession. A ‘Stradivarius Copy,’ it was given to me by my parents 90 years ago. It’s still wrapped in a silk cloth Dad brought home from France, after the Great War. Nearly every day, I’ll take it out of its case and play. The music uplifts me; keeps me focused. I’ll play for anyone who drops in to visit me and in regular group concerts at St Ives and I know at least 100 songs by heart.
The nuns at the local convent taught me how to play when I was ten. I still have the sheet music for the first piece I learnt: Dvorak’s ‘Humoresque’. But when I turned 13, the convent decided I shouldn’t be near the nuns any more! My next teacher was a brilliant musician; soon I was passing exams certified by London’s Trinity College Of Music.
Sadly, due to the Great Depression, Dad, a top Perth baker, had to close his business and we moved to the countryside. Here I learned to play the banjolin – a cross between a mandolin and a banjo. I’d often perform at local dances and social events. Later I returned to Perth, became a baker and businessmen and raised a family. My violin lay forgotten for nearly 50 years.
Finally when I moved into St Ives about 25 years ago, I rediscovered it; it was like reuniting with an old friend! Now we’re never far apart. When I turned 100 last October we had a big party here and I performed some of my favourites like Louis Armstrong’s ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and Lloyd-Webber’s ‘Music of the Night’. Like all people of my age, some days are better than others, but when I’m playing the violin, I’m immersed in the music and nothing else matters!
Exit fees and what you should know
The Government’s recent Aged Care reforms make it easier for you as a customer to move between providers based on your support needs. But if you are thinking of trying out a new provider, it’s important to now check that they don’t charge any sneaky joining, moving or exit fees.
At KinCare, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to choose the most suitable provider for your needs so we won’t charge you joining, upgrade or exit fees. We focus on delivering a great service and being a provider that you’ll choose to stay with. That’s why we won’t lock you in.
This fee — and the amount charged — is optional for each provider, however there are certain legal requirements providers must follow when disclosing this information to you.
Recent media reports have highlighted cases where home care customers have been charged unexpected or hidden exit fees. We’re here to help you understand what you should be looking out for.
Get out of paying exit fees
Under the new reforms, providers can now charge you a fee if you choose to leave and go to another provider. This is a newly introduced discretionary fee which helps providers to cover the administration costs incurred when transferring you to your new provider.
An exit fee is only payable if it is outlined in your Home Care Agreement. If it is stated in the contract you signed, the specified amount will be deducted from any unused funds you have when you leave your provider. A provider cannot charge you an exit fee if it is not agreed on in your contract, and they cannot introduce this fee after you have signed your agreement.
Not all fees are equal
Exit fees are optional and vary in amount. Some home care providers, like us at KinCare, choose to waive joining, upgrade or exit fees to give you greater choice and flexibility in selecting the right provider. Other providers are reported to be charging as much as $4,000, with the average fee reported to be $417.
Check the fine print
Home care providers are now legally required to publish their maximum exit fee on the government’s My Aged Care website. This is the first time this information has been publicly available. Exit fees must be agreed to in your contract and cannot be higher than the amount published on My Aged Care, or your unspent funds.
What you can do
Regardless of your circumstances, it’s important to find out exactly what your current agreement states. Ask your provider for a copy of your Home Care Agreement and check it carefully for exit fees and the required notice period for leaving a package.
If you receive a letter from your provider asking you to pay an exit fee, refer back to your agreement. If it’s not stated there, don’t pay it.
If you are unsure about the fees you are being asked to pay, speak with your provider.
We can help you
At KinCare, we want to help you to understand the In Home Care changes so you can find the best services and supports for you.
If you could use some in-home support, or you have a friend or family member who does, visit our Aged Care page or call us now on 1300 733 510.
In Home Care Government Changes
As a consumer, you have a choice between which products, services or providers you use. Thankfully, older Australians now have greater freedom than ever before to choose a home care provider and the services received. This is due to the recent Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms, which were brought in by the government on 27th February 2017.
These reforms have been designed to give you far more choice and control over your home care. The new system is more flexible, cost-effective, and fairer but significant reforms like these can cause uncertainty if not explained properly.
Our aim at KinCare is to help you understand these changes that have been brought in, and detail what they mean for you.
If you’d like to talk directly with an expert about aged home care or the recent Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms, please get in touch with KinCare now.
What are the major changes under the home care reforms?
Whatever your needs, the government subsidises the cost of a wide range of clinical care, personal care, and support services to assist with day-to-day living. Before these reforms, home care packages were awarded to approved care providers under an allocation process. So, you didn’t have a real choice over which home care provider would be assigned to you or the level of services you’d receive.
These new reforms have brought in four major changes to home care.
- You now have more choice and flexibility. You control the selection of your home care provider, completely replacing the old allocation process. In addition, you now have the flexibility to change your home care provider as your needs or circumstances change.
- Home care is now provided in a much fairer way. After a successful application, your Home care package is now assigned based not just on the length of time you’ve waited for care, but also on your individual care needs and personal circumstances. This is the same for everyone, regardless of where you may be located in Australia.
- You can now accrue unspent funds that are left over from your package after any expenses and fees have been deducted. This means that if you change home care provider these unspent funds will be transferred to your new one.
- There are now potential exit fees to pay home care providers if you decide to change to a new one. This fee is only payable if it has been included in your Home Care Agreement and will be deducted from any unspent funds. However, some home care providers, like us at KinCare, choose to waive this exit fee for our customers.
Thanks to the Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms, you are changing home care for the better. Home care providers now respond to your increased control by offering exactly the right care package you require as an individual. That’s why providers with experience and a strong sense of commitment to all their customers are best placed to deliver quality home care services.
What happens to existing home care customers if they switch provider?
If you are happy with your current provider, you are not obligated to change. You will simply continue receiving care and services at your current package level.
But these new reforms give you the power to change your home care provider if you want. Crucially, they allow your package funding to follow you to whichever provider you choose. This means a home care package is yours until you no longer need it. However, if you’re thinking of changing providers, you need to be aware of two factors.
- You should find out the amount of your unspent home care fund. This is the remaining fund after all expenses and fees have been paid from your package. The amount left may influence your decision on which care provider to choose, and it’s vital to find out what this may mean for you.
- Unlike KinCare, some providers deduct a newly introduced exit fee when you change or leave home care. If it is stated in your Home Care Agreement, they may deduct an exit amount from your unspent home care funds. (A provider’s exit fees must be displayed on the My Aged Care website.) As maximum exit fees have been reported as running as high as $4000, it’s important to find out exactly what your situation is, before you choose another provider.
Will the changes have an impact on new home care customers?
Despite the recent reforms, the home care qualification process and the different levels of care available have remained the same. An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will still assess a person applying for home care. This team will determine whether a person is eligible, and which of the four package levels best meets their care needs. They are:
Level 1 – Basic care needs
Level 2 – Low-level care needs
Level 3 – Intermediate care needs
Level 4 – High-level care needs
The allocation of home care for people will continue to be based on the priority given to their needs by ACAT. This means that those who have waited the longest and are in greatest need of home care assistance will be first in line with providers.
Subsidies for home care will continue to work as they did before. There will still be a rising subsidy amount that’s increased as the package level rises and this will be paid directly to your home care provider. Subsidies received for care are an important part of your payment process. However, you are still expected to contribute towards home care costs, where your personal circumstances allow.
Anyone who has been approved by the Aged Care Assessment Team since July 1st 2016 will have been automatically signed up to this new national queue for home care packages. Anyone who was approved for home care before this date will have to opt in to the queue independently – through the Government website myagedcare.gov.au.
When you reach the top of the queue and a suitable package becomes available, it will be assigned to you through My Aged Care. Once the package has been assigned to you, you can choose the provider that best suits your needs.
Will the changes impact the home care services available to you?
There are a huge number of home care services available, including but not limited to: assistance with personal activities, meal preparation, the use of incontinence aids and appliances, mobility and dexterity issues, transport, skin management, nursing and much more.
As providers face tougher competition in light of the reforms, they have to offer you more. Since home care packages can be tailored to your exact needs, you now have a far greater variety of services available. This will increase the number of home care services each provider has available and improve the overall quality of each service.
A new frontier of home care awaits you
All in all, the Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms brought in by the Australian Government are hugely significant for people requiring home care. The reforms have served to benefit you, by handing you total control over your home care provider and the day-to-day services they offer.
Home care providers now have to address this new freedom you have and increase the quality of their services accordingly. While an exit fee is something to be considered for certain providers, KinCare has chosen to waive this for its home care customers and instead focus on delivering an outstanding service.
If you are an elderly person who requires in-home care support, learn more about how KinCare can help you by visiting our Aged Care page.
At 102, Charles Lawson is living proof that you’re never too old to learn new tricks. This charming Perth pensioner recently mastered how to use an iPad, and, he says, it’s transformed his life.
“I use it every day,” adds Charles, who’s tapping away on the tablet computer even as we arrive to pay him a visit. “Now, when I wake up in the early hours, I can get online and find out what’s happening in the world,” says the retired businessman who lives with wife Maria, 92, in the Perth coastal suburb of Waikiki. “I love looking at news sites, getting new information. That’s much more enjoyable than having to switch on the TV when you can’t sleep,” he enthuses.
He’s also just learned how to send emails; and is overjoyed at the results. “Just a few years ago, if you‘d have said something like this was going to come along, they’d have thought you were mad!”
Born in July 1914, weeks before the outbreak of World War One, Charles still has clear memories of a simple, technology-free childhood growing up in the port city of Fremantle. “My family had a horse and cart,” he recalls. “My uncle would sometimes take me out to the Spearwood area – bush land back then – to collect shrubs, which we’d later sell for a shilling a bag.” He still remembers when his father purchased their first wireless. “It was in 1927; I was 13. And I remember when we first got an ice chest; before that we’d relied on the old Coolgardie Safe to keep our food cold.”
The oldest of five children, he says he’s outlived all his family. Asked why he’s survived the longest, he doesn’t hesitate. “I think it’s all in the mind,” he says. “I stay positive. If you want to be negative, there are plenty of negative thoughts you can have. I prefer to have positive thoughts. “And I love learning new things, it keeps the mind active, and on this iPad, I’m regularly playing a card game, Solitaire!” he says with a smile.
So how did he become so adept at this Apple device, most commonly used by folk decades younger? “One of those good people at KinCare brought one over a couple of months ago, and showed me how to work it. I think it’s marvellous!”
Charles signed up with KinCare last year and he’s full of praise for our carers, who regularly call in to assist him with basic household tasks, including showering. “They’re terrific. Best thing that ever happened! They just come along and do the job, and they do it so well. I didn’t know they existed until recently. They’re wonderful.”
With Charles soon to celebrate his 103rd birthday, we think he could quite possibly be the oldest iPad user on the planet!
Credits: By Jacqui Lang. Pictures by Peter Rigby
Still not convinced about using the internet?
Read our blog about why getting online is good for your health and wellbeing and how KinCare can help you.