For people recovering from an illness or surgery, frail older people, people with life-limiting illnesses, and people with disabilities, there are home care services available to help with daily living tasks, meals, home maintenance and nursing care.
Home care services
There is a range of government programs, community services and private home care options for people who need help, including:
- Home and Community Care (HACC) Program
- local council home care services
- home nursing
- doctor visits at home
- Transition Care Program
- private home care services
Home and Community Care (HACC) Program
The Home and Community Care (HACC) program is funded by both the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments to provide home care services to frail older people and younger people with disabilities and carers. The range of home care options includes:
- lifestyle help – for example, shopping, paying bills and transport to appointments
- household help – such as cleaning, clothes washing and ironing
- personal care – such as bathing or showering, dressing, hair care and going to the toilet
- home maintenance – for example, general repairs, and house and yard upkeep
- home modification – for example, installing safety aids such as alarms, ramps and support rails
- nursing care – such as wound dressing and general health advice.
To be eligible for the HACC Program, you must be aged 65 years or over (50 years or over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) or have a disability.
Before you can start receiving these home care services, you need to have an assessment to work out what sort of help and how much you need, and what it may cost. How much you pay depends on your income and the type and number of home help services you want.
Contact your local council to organise an assessment for HACC Program support services or ask your doctor for a referral.
Commonwealth Home Support Program
The Commonwealth Home Support Program provides respite and carer services, day therapy, nursing care, allied health, assistance with housing and home help for older people.
Commonwealth Home Care Packages
Home Care Packages provide a coordinated package of services designed to meet your specific care needs. Packages may include personal services such as help with showering or dressing, support services such as help with household tasks, home modifications and transport, and healthcare such as nursing, physiotherapy, dietetics and hearing and vision services. Before you can get a Home Care Package, you need an assessment by a member of an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS).
For more information on the Commonwealth Home Support Program and Commonwealth Home Care Packages call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Home visiting doctor
If you are too ill, not mobile enough or simply have no way of getting to your local doctor’s clinic, phone your local doctor as a first step. Your usual doctor or another doctor from the same medical clinic might be able to provide a home visiting doctor. If this is not possible, your local medical centre will be able to put you in touch with a home-visiting doctor service.
Transition Care Program
The Transition Care Program, which provides nursing and rehabilitation care for older people leaving hospital, can deliver health services in your home.
The program is usually available for eight to 12 weeks, but a six-week extension can be organised if needed. Health services include therapy, such as physiotherapy and podiatry, and wound and personal care provided by a nurse.
There is a small fee for the program, which you and your service provider work out before you join. You will still be able to get care if you cannot afford it.
To join the program, you will need an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) before you leave hospital. This can be organised through your hospital.
Private home care services
As well as the government services and programs listed above, many private and not-for-profit organisations provide home care services. Although some are provided with government programs, many are provided at commercial rates or, in the case of a not-for-profit organisation, with a charitable subsidy.
Talk to your doctor, hospital, local council or local community health centre to find out what home care options are available in your area that suit your needs.
Palliative care services
Palliative care is provided to a person with a life-limiting illness, where there is no sign of a cure.
Community palliative care services are provided at home for as long as possible. Palliative care services offer palliative care nursing, allied health, respite and practical support, information, equipment, medications and access to medical review and assessment in your home. Ask your doctor or hospital about palliative care services available in your area.
If you have questions about a health problem, you can call the medical advice helpline NURSE-ON-CALL. NURSE-ON-CALL provides immediate, expert health advice from a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the cost of a local or mobile phone call.
Call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.
Support for people with disabilities
The Victorian Government provides outreach services providing up to 15 hours per week so that people with a disability can live more independently in their own homes.
Anyone aged six to 64 years who has an acquired brain injury, intellectual or physical disability, or a degenerative neurological condition, may be eligible for outreach support.
Contact your regional Disability Services – Intake and Response Service to find out more information about this program and how to apply.
Another program that helps people with a permanent or long-term disability to live more independently at home is the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program (VAEP). It provides funding for aids, equipment, home and vehicle modifications.
To apply for the program, you will need an assessment from a health professional to work out the type of aid or equipment you need. You will then complete an application form, which needs your doctor to confirm that your disability is permanent or long term.
Where to get help
- Your local doctor
- Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre call 1800 200 422
- Disability Services – Intake and Response Service call 1800 783 783
- Local council
- NURSE-ON-CALL call 1300 60 60 24
- My Aged Care call 1800 200 422
- Aged Care Assessment Service
- Palliative Care Victoria