Home care waitlist – what happens and what are my options?

National waitlist – how it works

Once you’ve received your letter from an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) approving your eligibility for home care support, it means you’ve joined a national queue for home care which has been established to prioritise access to home care packages.

The Government funds a limited number of home care package places and introduced the national waitlist in 2017 to allocate these places more fairly. Your place in the queue is determined by the date you were approved for care and how urgent your needs were as reviewed in the comprehensive assessment of your relative needs and circumstances.

You must wait to be assigned a home care package from the national queue before you can start to receive services. Not surprisingly, expected wait times change as the number of individuals seeking services changes. Wait times are displayed in monthly configurations of less than a month, 1­3 months, 3­6 months, 6­9 months, 9­12 months or 12+ months.

Your ACAT assessor will be able to keep you and your family up to date with how your wait and your position in the queue is proceeding. You can also call the My Aged Care to help you with wait time information 1800 200 422.

couple hand holding at consult

Can I get any interim help now while I’m waiting?

Quite often, people need assistance while waiting for their funding to begin. Thankfully there are a few options to help you should you need it.

Firstly if you are in a position to pay for Private Care Services during this period, then you have a wide selection of services available to suit your situation and of course your budget. Some providers offer discounted package hours to tide you over on the waitlist. You might like to look at Enrich’s Quick Start program which offers discounted block hours you can use how you need.

However if you’re not in a position to fund any Private Care Services, you can always speak to your assessor about accepting an interim arrangement where you receive a package that is lower than your approved package level to get you through. The good news is your wait time won’t be affected by accepting an early interim arrangement.

Another option you have is to access other Commonwealth, state/territory, or privately funded aged care services such as under the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).

This program is one of the quickest ways to start receiving care, with a short wait time of a few weeks once assessed and approved. Your assessor will be able to help you with this or speak with your provider of choice for advice in your area. (note that the Home and Community Care program (HACC) is being absorbed into the CHSP in 2018 and is only known as HACC in WA and VIC)

There are also options to access support if you are planning a visit to hospital or just coming out of hospital such as Transition Care Services or the Interim Hospital Package program.

What about some help for my carer?

While you’re waiting for home care, it’s quite likely there’s someone like a family member or loved one or friend who is already giving you extra support as a carer. Not sure if they are a carer, this guide will help.

Support for your carer is important to your overall health by enabling your carer to take a break from their care duties and ensuring your relationship takes a break too to give you both some breathing space.

You can access respite care through government subsidised programs such as home care packages, the Commonwealth Home Support Program and the Home and Community Care program. The Government website the Carer’s Gateway has some great resources to point you in the right direction in the suburb you live in.

My package assignment letter has arrived. What do I do next?

Once you have got to the top of the national waiting list queue you will receive a letter which assigns you a home care package.

This letter will include your individual referral code which allows to take up your package with the service provider of your choice.

As part of the letter, you have a package ‘take­up’ deadline. Essentially you have 56 days from the date your package is assigned to enter into a Home Care Agreement. If you need extra time to make a decision, call My Aged Care and ask for an extension of a further 28 days. That would give you 84 days. You need to be aware that if you haven’t entered into an agreement within your take­up deadline, your package will be withdrawn. This means that your eligibility for funding will expire and your service provider will not be able to claim a subsidy for your care.

A good home care provider can guide you through the whole process and offer good advice to avoid some of the pitfalls of the home aged care process. It’s also good to get as much family support as possible during this process and talk to your GP about all your options. You also might find our 7 Steps Guide to Finding Home Care handy, download for free here.

Get friendly advice on what to do while you are waiting

Your guide to comparing home care providers

Learn about what to expect on the national home care waitlist and also explore your options if you or a family member need some help while you are waiting.

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Quick Start - quick home care options

Learn about what to expect on the national home care waitlist and also explore your options if you or a family member need some help while you are waiting.

Find out more