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Home Care Agreement

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What is a Home Care Agreement

A Home Care Agreement is a legal agreement between the recipient of a Home Care Package and their chosen Package Provider. Please see more information on Choosing a Provider
The Agreement is designed to protect the client from any unexpected charges, provide them security of service, stipulate whether or not the Provider will charge an Exit Fee, a guide on the cost of the services etc.
With the Agreement the Package Provider will also provide you with certain other documents.

You may choose to not sign the Agreement and yet receive services, however by accepting the services you will have given implied acceptance of the Agreement provided by the Package Provider.

Elements of the Agreement

Your details

This section needs to include:
  • Client details
  • Name and details of an appointed Representative, if any
  • Where will services be delivered i.e. the clients address
  • Where will notices be delivered - this can be an email address or a postal address

Security of tenure

This section provides you with security of continued service.
There is a requirement in the Aged Care Act to give surety to clients that their Agreement will not be cancelled except in certain circumstances such as when the client has not met their obligations, for e.g. not paid fees they are required to.

Fees

The Agreement will list the Case Management fee, a Package Management fee and the Exit fees that the Package Provider will deduct from the HCP funds.
The Agreement should also be accompanied by the Providers Home Care Pricing Schedule that will list the general costs of some common services and will also include the Providers Case Management and Package Management fee.

There may also be a clause that states how fee changes will occur and under what circumstances.

Signature Section

This will allow either you and/or your Reperesentative to sign and agree to the Home Care Agreement and stipulate the date the Agreement has been entered into.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you sign the Agreement before the take up expiry date of your assigned home care package. If you are unsure what the take up expiry date is, please refer to the letter of assignement sent by the Government (via My Aged Care) informing you that you have been assigned a HCP and that you must take up the HCP by a certain date.

You will not need to inform the Government that you have taken up the HCP as this is the responsibility of the Ptovider. The Provider must inform the Government within 28 days of entering into the Agreement that the HCP has been taken up.

Who can sign the Agreement

The Agreement can be signed by the client or their Representative if the client is, for some reason, unable to sign the Agreement.

If there are other issues that you face in signing the Agreement, you are also able to signal your consent to the Package Provider taking up your HCP by other means. For example, you can drop the an SMS or an email or even give verbal consent over the phone. The Provider will record the mode by which you provided consent and can use this permission to take up the package.

What documents should accompany the Agreement

The Provider will need to send certain documents with the Agreement. The bare minimum includes: The Provider may also include other documents that the Package Provider thinks is necessary.

When will the Care Plan and Budget need to be done?

Once the Agreement has been signed, a Care Plan must be designed and a Budget created within 14 days of the Agreement being signed. Please see Developing the Care Plan for information on what the Care Plan contains, what your involvement in the process is and how the Budget works. The Care Plan and Budget is vital to running a HCP and achieving the goals you have set. The Provider will justify what services and equipment can be paid for as a result of the agreed Care Plan, so it is absolutely vital that you be clear what you want to achieve from the allocated HCP funds. There will be certain expenses/services/goods that are outright forbidden under the Aged Care Act. To familiarise yourself with these please read the Included and Excluded Services list

Other Information

If English is not your first language and you need help with the Package Provider's Agreement, then speak to the Provider and they will organise a Translator to help interpret the Agreement and answer any questions you may have. The Translator will not cost you any money, it is a free service to clients.
You are also able to enlist the help of a friend or a family member or even engage independent legal help (unfortunately this will have to be an expense that you will need to bear yourself), to help you understand the Agreement and ask the Provider questions on your behalf.