Aged care reforms
The reforms will create a better aged care system to give older people more choice, more control and easier access to a range of aged care services.
About the aged care reforms
Aged care reforms will deliver important benefits to older Australians, including:
- more support and care at home
- better access to residential care
- increased recognition of carers and those from culturally diverse backgrounds
- more support for those with dementia
- better access to information
The reforms started in 2012, with the 1st major changes implemented on 1 July 2013.
The 2nd round of significant changes started on 1 July 2014. These changes include:
- income testing arrangements for home care packages
- changed means testing in residential aged care
- new accommodation payment arrangements for residential aged care
- removal of the distinction between high and low care in residential care
- expansion of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency
Home care packages
Home care helps people to continue living at home for as long as possible, and provides more choice and flexibility for people receiving care at home.
There are 4 levels of home care packages:
- Home Care Level 1 - supports people with basic care needs
- Home Care Level 2 - supports people with low-level care needs, similar to the previous Community Aged Care Package
- Home Care Level 3 - supports people with intermediate care needs
- Home Care Level 4 - supports people with high care needs, similar to the previous Extended Aged Care at Home package
Approval for home care packages
Aged Care Assessment Team approvals for home care are either:
- Home Care Levels 1 and 2 - to be eligible to access either a Level 1 or 2 package, and
- Home Care Levels 3 and 4 - to be eligible to access either a Level 3 or 4 package
Existing Aged Care Assessment Team approvals will translate to the following:
- Community Aged Care Package - Level 2 package
- Extended Aged Care at Home and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia - Level 4 package
Level 2 approval allows access to both Level 1 and 2 packages. Level 4 approval allows access to Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 packages.
Supplements are paid to an approved provider, in recognition of the additional costs associated with certain care and service requirements. The supplements are described below.
Dementia and Cognition Supplement
The Dementia and Cognition Supplement provides an extra 10% of funding on top of the basic subsidy for eligible care recipients receiving a home care package.
Approved providers are required to apply for the Dementia and Cognition Supplement for in-home care for the care recipient by downloading the Aged Care Application for the Dementia and Cognition Supplement in Home Care form (AC014).
Care recipients in receipt of Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia packages before 1 August 2013 will automatically transition to the new Home Care Level 4 package with the Dementia and Cognition Supplement.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs determines eligibility for the Veterans’ Supplement. Payment is automatically made to approved providers. The Veterans’ Supplement provides an extra 10% of funding on top of the basic subsidy for eligible care recipients receiving a home care package.
The Oxygen Supplement is paid to the approved provider for a care recipient who has an ongoing medical need for oxygen. There is no supplement available for episodic or short-term illnesses, such as bronchitis.
The Oxygen Supplement is available across all 4 levels of home care packages.
Enteral Feeding Supplement
The Enteral Feeding Supplement is paid to the approved provider for a care recipient who requires enteral feeding on an ongoing basis. To be eligible for an Enteral Feeding Supplement, the care recipient must be receiving a complete food formula by means of a nasogastric, gastrostomy or jejunostomy tube. Enteral Feeding Supplements are not provided if formula is taken orally.
The Enteral Feeding Supplement is available across all 4 levels of home care packages.
For further information about aged care services and the aged care reforms, visit the My Aged Care website, or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Information sheets about the new arrangements for aged care from 1 July 2014 are available from the Department of Social Services website. If a care recipient was receiving home or residential care on 30 June 2014 and is intending to change home care package providers or residential care facilities, you must give them a copy of either the:
- New Arrangements for Aged Care from 1 July 2014 – Residential Care to be given to persons in residential care on 30 June 2014 who are intending to move to a new facility
- New Arrangements for Aged Care from 1 July 2014 – Home Care to be given to persons receiving a home care package on 30 June 2014 who are intending to move to a new provider