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Developing a Care Plan and Budget in Home Care

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The Care Plan

What is a Care Plan?

A Care Plan is a very important part of your Home Care. It records your needs and goals, what you would like to achieve towards improving your life at home by using the funds made available by the HCP.
The goals and needs will determine the types of services and/or equipment your are eligible for. Clients and their representatives often ask, "what services can I have?". The answer to this greatly depends on the clients goals and needs and the supports that will be required to achieve these goals.
Instead of thinking in terms of what services I can have, you need to be able to define what you would like to achieve. This could be as simple as, "when I was able, I had a clean house, I would go for walks every day and enjoyed going shopping. I would like to have a clean house, I would like to walk some days but I cannot by myself and I would still like to go to the shops every week". This could translate into several possible services such as a regular domestic clean and a spring clean, an accompanied support worker for walks and/or a physiotherapist to help build up strength to enable walks and a support worker to take you shopping regularly etc.
Hence a statement of goals and needs would help determine the services you can receive.

What is the process in Care Planning?

The Care Planner will lead you through the process of designing a care plan. Remember that HCP delivers Consumer Directed Care (CDC). What this means is that you, if you wish, you can be involved in your care plan. You state your goals and needs. To help you the care planner will guide you. You can also have present at the care planning a family member, your representative or a friend. If English is not your first language, you should let the care planner know when they make an appointment. The care planner can organise a translator to be present at the meeting to help translate, so that there are no errors in understanding.
The process of care planning involves:
  • Determining your goals and needs
  • Establishing what the obstacles are in achieving these goals
  • Recording your desires on how, when and by whom (cultural needs, gender preferences etc.) the services can be delivered
  • Identifying the types of services and/or equipment that may be required in fulfilling these needs
  • Recording how often these services will need to be delivered in order to be effective
  • If you already have a paid service in place and wish for the HCP to take up this cost, then the details of the support worker (caveat: the current support worker must be fit to provide the service as per the Aged Care guidelines)
  • Recording your health and medical history, social situation, living arrangements etc.
  • Recording the medications you take and allergies you may have, etc.
Once the care planner has recorded the above, they will also discuss with you options of the types of services that will be appropriate to meeting your goals. Remember, you have the right to decide on alternative solutions, as long as these solutions are able to meet your stated goals. If the choices you make are not safe or pose certain risks, you will be informed about the risks involved.

Choosing your own support workers

A question we get asked very often, "Can I choose my own support worker(s)?". The short answer is, Yes. However there are a few conditions attached to this as any support worker chosen must meet with the guidelines of the Aged Care Act.
The conditions most important (and there are other conditions than the ones listed below):
  • The support worker CANNOT be a family member, friend or neighbour. The HCP is meant to supplement/complement your usual carers, not replace them or pay them
  • The support worker must be appropriately qualified. What is appropriate? This depends on the support task being performed
  • They must be appropriately insured
  • They must be providing the service in general to others, not just you
  • They must have a current, valid and clean police check
  • They must agree to abide by the guidelines and directions of the package provider, including but not limited to submitting reports
If you choose your own support worker, the package provider may add a margin on top of the cost charged by the support worker. You will need to check with your prospective provider whether they apply a margin on top of the invoices of your support workers. At The Care List we do not add any margin on top of the actual cost of the support worker, whatever is billed by the support worker we charge to the home care package funds. This allows you to spend your funds in a judicious and effective manner.

The Budget

Having recorded your goals and required services and any equipment required to meet your goals, the care planner will create a budget. The budget will contain the funds expected from the Government less the cost of the services/equipment to be delivered. The cost of the services will also include the Package Providers Case Management/Package Management fees.
If the expenses are less than the subsidy provided by the Government for the HCP level you have been awarded, then there will be no issue delivering the required services.
However, if the expenses are greater than the subsidy, you will have a negative budget. In this case you will need to choose which services/equipment you will need to forego. Alternatively, you may choose to reduce the frequency of a service(s) so as to bring the expenses to within the subsidy allowed by the HCP awarded level.
The next page deal more with budget matters.

How often is the Care Plan reviewed

Generally the care plan is reviewed annually. However, care plans will get reviewed when:
  • The client's health or condition changes. Such changes could be due to a fall, a hospitalisation, a sudden illness, a change in residential address
  • When there is a change the assigned HCP level (e.g. you are awarded a higher package level)
  • If the client requests a review

Is the HCA reissued each time the Care Plan changes?

No. The base conditions of the HCA remain the same. However, the Care Plan and the Budget form a part of the HCA and hence each version of the Care Plan replaces the previous version of the Care Plan and Budget in your HCA.

Next Page: Budgeting