How to get help at home, what kind of home care is available and who can help you organise the best home care solution
Most people envision their later years comfortably in their own homes, surrounded by a lifetime of memories and with access to familiar people and places. For many of us, when we reach an age where things are becoming more difficult without help, it can seem like a frightening situation. Not every person has a family member who is able to step in and help out on a regular basis, and unsurprisingly, as we age our need for assistance only goes up. With Australia’s population ageing, the need for care in private homes is going up – not only do people want to stay at home for as long as possible, we simply don’t have the aged care facilities to house everyone at once. The solution to this is home care, and the government and industry is getting behind it to keep people where they’re happiest – at home.
What is home care?
Home care describes a vast collection of different care, clinical and support services delivered to the recipient by external providers in their own private home. What your home care might look like entirely depends on your unique needs – none of us is exactly the same! This means that you can delay the need to move in with relatives, friends or aged care living facilities by many years. Often those who receive home care do not need extensive support to stay in their own homes, and it can potentially give them decades more in comfort and privacy.
What types of home care services are there?
There are hundreds of different services that might make up your overall home care package, and at ConnectAbility your Case Manager will help you pick and choose the right combination for you. However, most services fall into these three main categories:
Clinical services – These services are delivered by medical professionals such as Registered nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, optometrists, podiatrists, GP Doctors and many more!
Care services – This a broad term for a host personal care activities. This could include showering, caring for your skin and personal grooming, dental care, mobility, and maintaining good nutrition.
Support services – These types of services help you get your chores done, and get out and about. They can include things such as lawn mowing and garden maintenance, shopping assistance, travel to medical appointments or community activities, laundry and other domestic chores.
The benefits of home care
There are so many benefits to home care, not just to those who receive it, but also the community that gets to keep their members where they are. Quality of life is becoming a truly big issue, with Australians living longer than ever before. While there are countless benefits to keeping older people and those with disabilities at home, these are just a few of the top reasons:
Staying close to family and friends
When people can remain in their homes, it means that their family and friends have unrestricted access to them. In aged care facilities and hospitals, visiting hours can be limiting from a social perspective. If you want to visit a loved one in a facility and you work fulltime hours, it can be really difficult to get there in time, and that is quite distressing to both parties. Private homes are often located closer to family, friends and familiar neighbours than care facilities as well.
Lower transport and travel costs
Many people report the parking fees and having to take paid time off work to visit a loved one as a key issue in limiting or shortening visits. Parking can be as expensive as $40 a day, and can be difficult to find in peak visiting hours on top of them. Taking public transport can help, but if there aren’t enough options available at the right times – this can be a big deterrent to visiting. Taking time off work to visit a loved one or to help them travel can start to take a financial and mental toll after a while – those days off are usually annual leave days, so they end up with less holiday pay in the bank.
Giving people choice and control
When care is provided in the home, it is done in a way that the recipient gets the ultimate choice on what services they receive, who they receive it by and they can do so in the privacy of their own home. Getting older can be a distressing time for some, as we lose capabilities and autonomy that we cherished before. It can feel like a loss of freedom and worth – we can’t do what we could before. Home care provides people a way to get the care they need and to stay healthy, without removing their dignity and allowing them to feel in complete control of the process. This is obviously far better for mental health outcomes than the alternative.
Reduced risk of hospital readmission and better health outcomes
There are several studies that show those who receive specialist care at home after a hospital stay are more likely to recover quicker, and avoid a readmission, than those who stay in hospital after a medical event. This is due to a number of factors, but includes a reduced risk of infection from other patients and higher normal activity levels due to being in one’s own home. In hospital you will have your food brought to you, but at home you might get up and make yourself some toast. Getting back to your normal activities is an important part of recovery, and it is slowed when you stay in hospital. Importantly, those who receive home care after a hospital stay tend to get far better sleep – sleeping in the comfort of your own bed in your private home will always provide a better sleep than what you can get in hospital. It is common for people to be woken in hospital by other patients and hospital activities, as well it being an uncomfortable environment.
Comfort and quality of life
It shouldn’t be surprising that having access to your own things and complete privacy is going to aid in recovery. It drops stress levels, which can interfere with recovery and sleep, and makes patients far happier. When people are comfortable and happy, their tendency to recover well from injuries or procedures is much improved over those under stress or in discomfort. When most people are unwell, the first thing we want is for a safe and familiar space to be unwell in, and being able to stay at home through home care is the best option for this.
Different home care packages
Home care is delivered by aged care service providers, with the backing of the Australian government funded Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). This programme was developed to enable older Australians to stay in their homes for longer, and to stay healthy and happy as well. Home care is designed to support your strengths, help you improve in other areas, and do the work for you where necessary.
Home care is delivered by providers like us at ConnectAbility in different packages, which are established based on the level of need each client has. Our Case Managers will talk with you about your needs, and assess the level of home care package you need to be living your best life. The Home Care Program contributes a subsidy towards your home care package, to reduce the financial burden. These packages are broken down into four categories:
Home Care Level 1 – Basic needs care
Home Care Level 2 – Low needs care
Home Care Level 3 – Intermediate needs care
Home Care Level 4 – High needs care
You will need to apply to be assessed for Home Care Program funding, and there can be wait times between assessment and the commencement of services – so it is definitely a great idea to be organised and get the ball rolling if you’re starting to experience some difficulty at home, and have been managing with the help of friends or family. The team at ConnectAbility can help you navigate the application and assessment process, and support you throughout to make sure it is a comfortable and stress-free experience.
Home care support coordination
Case Managers will work with you to create a schedule or care and support that works best for you. They can help coordinate your support by contacting service providers and booking them in for you, or helping you do that yourself – we know that every person prefers a different level of autonomy and control when it comes to planning.
At ConnectAbility we specialise in support coordination, and have been helping our clients create schedules of care and activities that enrich their lives. We’re passionate about helping our local community, and keeping our clients connected, happy and healthy because we are a company that was created by locals, for locals. With clients across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland, we have comprehensive knowledge of our region, our community and who our clients are.
If you think it might be time to organise some extra help at home, or at least start learning about what’s involved – get in contact with our friendly team today!