Understanding the aged care system and how to navigate it is an absolute mind field. There are loads of acronyms, confusing jargon, multiple assessments, financial implications, and a myriad of options which adds to confusion and stops people dead in their tracks from either accessing services.
The first point of contact is My Aged Care and often it will depend on who you get on the other end of the phone as to what response you get. It is very important to plan what you are going to say to them before you get on the phone. The best thing to do is to talk to a care specialist at Together We Care first before calling My Age Care as you want to set the scene and express to the call centre agent what life is like on the worst day of life.
Too often people play down the situation and say everything is fine and that they do not need much help. The people that play down what they need will end up with Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) funded services. This funding is often not always available, you must pay a co-payment for this and often it isn’t a high-quality service where you have choice or control. If the service provider has used all the funding for that year (which they usually have) you will find it difficult to get a service at all.
You need to express how hard life is and how much support you are getting from family, friends, neighbours, or unpaid carers. This will help you to be put into the line for an assessment by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) which will hopefully mean you will get a Home Care Package (HCP) this is an annually funded service where you will have choice and control over who is your service provider, what services you can access.
Always remember you or your family are the best person to make the referral as you and your family know your situation better than anyone else. If you try to get your GP to make the referral they will be in a hurray and often miss things that you may need. Whereas if you or your family make the referral you are going to be more specific around what you need help with.
I feel that people are better off if they get a Home Care Package as you can access more services easier. The services that you can access include the following: domestic assistance, personal care, meal preparation/delivery, nursing, social support, transport, shopping assistance, and even allied health professionals.