In the search for reliable and tailored aged care services, two terms frequently come up: CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Programme) and HCP (Home Care Package). These terms may sound familiar, but understanding their differences and how they can meet your specific needs is essential.
Both programs play a vital role in providing assistance and support to elderly individuals, enabling them to live at home independently and enhance their quality of life. But when choosing the right path, you need to understand the differences they have, considering the factors of life service, flexibility, funding, and more.
So, let us start by exploring the basics: What do HCP and CHSP actually stand for, and how do they differ in terms of providing care and support to seniors?
CHSP: Commonwealth Home Support Programme
The CHSP is a government-funded program designed to provide entry-level support services to help older Australians live independently in their homes and communities for as long as possible. It aims to offer assistance with daily tasks and activities, thereby enhancing the quality of life for seniors. Additionally, it also focuses on promoting social connections and community engagement among older individuals, fostering a sense of belonging and well-being in their local communities. Services under the CHSP may include, but are not limited to:
- Domestic assistance
- Personal care
- Social support
- Allied health services
- Respite care
HCP: Home Care Package
On the other hand, a Home Care Package is a coordinated package of care and services tailored to meet the specific needs of older individuals who wish to continue living independently at home. Unlike the CHSP, which provides basic support, home care service HCPs offer a higher level of care and support, often catering to individuals with more complex needs. HCPs are allocated across four levels of support, ranging from
- Level 1 (basic care needs)
- Level 2 (lower-level care needs)
- Level 3 (intermediate care needs)
- Level 4 (high-level care needs)
Services provided under an HCP may include:
- Nursing care
- Personal care
- Allied health services
- Mobility aids
- Home modifications
- Social support
- Transport assistance
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Key Differences between CHSP and HCP
Although both Home Care Packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme receive partial government funding and require a small contribution from recipients, their primary objective of improving the quality of life for elderly Australians sets them apart. However, there are several crucial distinctions between the two programs.
To qualify for CHSP services, individuals must be aged 65 years and over (or 50 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people). Eligibility for CHSP is determined through an assessment of the individual’s support needs, focusing on their ability to perform daily tasks and participate in community life. CHSP services and support are primarily intended for individuals living independently in their own homes or within the community rather than in residential aged care facilities.
Also read: Benefits of Caring Elderly in Their Own Home
Eligibility for HCPs is based on the assessed level of care needs, with four levels ranging from basic to high care needs. The care package level required is determined by factors such as:
- Health conditions
- Living situation
- Support network
- Cultural preferences
To be eligible for a Home Care Package, individuals must undergo an Aged Care Assessment conducted by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS). This assessment evaluates the individual’s care requirements and determines their eligibility for government-funded care services.
Depending on your level of needs, either the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) or the ACAT will reach out to organise a face-to-face assessment in your home for CHSP, ensuring that you receive the appropriate level of support tailored to your requirements.
Funding and Costs
CHSP is primarily funded by the Australian Government, which allocates resources to care providers based on population demographics and the assessed needs of eligible individuals. While CHSP services are subsidised by the government, participants may be required to contribute towards the cost of their care. The level of contribution is determined based on the individual’s financial circumstances and ability to pay.
CHSP fees are typically calculated on a sliding scale, taking into account factors such as income, assets, and household composition. Some services may be provided free of charge, while others may require a nominal fee.
Home Care Packages are also funded by the Australian Government, with funding allocated based on the assessed care needs of the individual. With home care package funding, recipients are also required to pay a basic daily fee, an income-tested care fee, and potentially additional fees for specific aged care services or goods. Home Care Package providers may charge a management fee to cover administrative costs associated with coordinating and delivering care support and services. These fees vary between home care providers and are deducted from the HCP recipient’s subsidy.
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Flexibility and Choice
Both CHSP and Home Care Packages provide flexibility and choice to participants in their aged care options.
While the CHSP offers a range of essential services, it may lack the flexibility and customisation available through a Home Care Package. However, the CHSP provides support for individuals with less complex care requirements to maintain independence and well-being. CHSP emphasises social inclusion and community engagement, providing participants with various group activities, outings, and social events to choose from.
Each level of the Home Care Package stands out for its extensive customisation, enabling recipients to tailor their care plans, select preferred service providers, and adjust arrangements as needed over time. Whether requiring additional services or modifying existing arrangements, individuals can adapt their care plans to ensure continued support that meets their changing circumstances. This autonomy empowers individuals to shape their care experiences according to their unique preferences.
Can I use HCP and CHSP together?
Typically, you cannot use HCP and the CHSP simultaneously. However, individuals with HCP may access additional support from CHSP in specific situations:
According to the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care,
For those with a Level 1 or 2 HCP package:
- If facing setbacks like falls and requiring more nursing or allied health services, CHSP can provide extra support.
- While awaiting a Level 3 or 4 package and in need of home modifications, CHSP can offer assistance.
For any level of HCP package:
- If your carer needs a brief break, CHSP offers short-term planned respite services.
- In emergencies with immediate health or safety needs, CHSP can deliver extra services.
- If you previously attended a Social Support Group under CHSP and transitioned to HCP, you can still access those groups.
- When urgently needing Goods, Equipment, and Assistive Technology (GEAT) but your HCP funds are insufficient, CHSP can provide short-term care for GEAT.
Remember, this extra CHSP support is temporary and monitored by your assessment service, usually the Aged Care Assessment Team. You will pay the standard CHSP client contribution rate for these services, and your HCP budget will not be affected.
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In the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, care management starts with an assessment by the ACAT or Regional Assessment Service (RAS). After assessment, individuals are referred to suitable CHSP providers, where service coordinators help access care based on their needs. Providers monitor the recipient’s progress and review care plans regularly for ongoing suitability.
Home Care Packages offer personalised care management. Individuals can choose a provider and work with a designated case manager to develop comprehensive care and support service plans tailored to their needs. These plans cover various services coordinated by the HCP provider, with regular reviews to ensure continued effectiveness as needs change. Through personalised care planning, HCP aims to empower individuals to live comfortably at home.
Choosing a Right Care Provider
Selecting the ideal care provider for Home Care Packages (HCP) and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) is crucial for receiving tailored support that enhances your well-being. Consider factors such as the services offered, quality of care, and flexibility for HCP providers. Look for registered providers with a client-centred approach and a reputation for delivering high-quality, personalised care. For CHSP, assess the range of services, accessibility, and the client-centred approach, ensuring they meet your unique support needs. Thorough research and careful consideration of these factors will help you select the right care provider tailored to your needs and preferences.
Ready to unlock the right care path for you? If you are seeking expert guidance and assistance in navigating the aged care system, contact us today. At Auspire Care, our dedicated team of professionals provides customised advice, assists you in understanding your eligibility, and guides you through the process of accessing the appropriate care and support. Take action today and ensure the best possible care for yourself or your loved ones.