Community care: Where can I go?
Do you know about the levels of community care that are available? And how you would go about getting such care? The answer is not a simple one, unfortunately, but we will give a brief overview to start you thinking.
At LYS we talk about navigating the journey of your later years, and we use the rail and tracks metaphor to help understand some of your choices. You can get off the track at the Community station, and go in many different directions, depending on recent events and your needs. That is because there are care options available if you have chronic health issues, are returning from hospital for illness or serious surgery, options for low level assistance that covers the basics of home and personal maintenance, and then various levels of assistance to cover much greater needs. You also have a vast array of private providers available now.
Chronic disease management plans are through your GP when you have a chronic disease of greater than 6 months duration. They are for people who benefit from seeing a range of services to improve/maintain their health. For example a person with diabetes who needs a dietitian and exercise physiologist, or a person with musculoskeletal injury who needs a physiotherapist. Similarly there are mental health plans for psychological assistance.They fund a set number of visits per year.
Transitional programmes assist you after illness or surgery. They are time limited but diverse in that they can include personal care, nursing support, such as for wound dressings, and restorative, therapy based cares, They can be temporarily in a residential setting or in your home in the community.
CHSP is the mnemonic for Commonwealth Home Support Programme. This is called the entry level programme for those over 65 (or 50 for at risk people). It must be assessed by an assessment service for your eligibility. Organisations have fees and you are asked to provide a contribution toward your programme's costs. It covers all of the personal care and basic home maintenance needs but is only for a few hours a week. It means balancing out what you really need to be assisted with.
Home Care Packages are the next level of need. These are also assessed by an Assessment team. Your needs and circumstances are weighed up and your eligibility decided so your 'case' can be issued an amount of funding to cover the assessed needs. It is ongoing unless there is a change in your status. Your income and assets are assessed as part of your eligibility. You are charged a daily fee according to the income assessment. Level 2 Packages are the most common in the community and they are for people who are mostly independent but need some assistance with specific things on occasion throughout the week. They also cover all the personal and home care activities but must be balanced for those most impactful and necessary for you. Level 4 Packages are higher level funded packages for those with more extensive needs. The eligibility attracts more funding so can be worked out in a variety of ways to provide different aspects of care across the spectrum of needs. They are for people who require support in a whole range of needs and benefit from having support workers more frequently and for longer throughout the week.These packages also have daily fees.
Private providers are those who provide a variety of care with various levels of workers, but charge you the full fees for their services. These services are usually staffed by similar workers as subsidised services (approved providers) but are not controlled by the same Government requirements of the approved providers and do not receive funding from the Government to subsidise your fees. You are not means tested for these services. The services are as wide and diverse, as long and as complex as you choose to put into place, however they must be paid. More people are using private services in many ways, such as short term stop-gaps whilst awaiting other care packages, top ups for care packages, or to provide all of their care needs.
Understanding what is available helps you to make choices when the time comes for seeking assistance. Our advice at LYS is to look into it early and take up help when and where you can to ensure you stay stronger and healthier in your own space. People who make decisions in a timely manner feel more in control of their lives, and are less likely to head into a train smash of crisis on their journey.