The Commonwealth Home Support Program vs. Home Care Packages

Wondering which aged care program is best for you, the Commonwealth Home Support Program or Home Care Packages? This blog post will help you decide.

Updated on Jun 17, 2024
5 min read

Summary: The Commonwealth Home Support Program is for elderly people with short-term aged care needs, while the Home Care Package program is for seniors with long-term care needs. 

Home Care Packages (HCP) and the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) are key Australian government programs. 

They help older Australians stay at home where they can continue to live comfortably. 

The CHSP offers entry-level support for those needing occasional help. The HCP program provides more comprehensive care for those with greater needs.

Knowing the specifics of each program can help you make informed decisions. Whether you need basic help or extensive care, this comparison will give you all the answers.

Understanding the Programs

The Australian Government funds various programs for the elderly, including:

  1. The Commonwealth Home Support Program
  2. Home Care Packages
  3. Residential aged care
  4. Short-term restorative care
  5. Residential respite care

Today, we will focus on the first two programs.

If you're new to Australian aged care, you might think the CHSP and HCP programs are similar. While they do have many similarities, they are not the same. 

Home Care Packages offer comprehensive, long-term care for those with higher and more complex care needs. 

On the other hand, the CHSP provides entry-level support for older Australians who need help occasionally. 

That being said, these two programs have the same goal - to allow elderly individuals to remain living comfortably and independently at home. 

Let's take a closer look at these two aged care programs.

A diagram of Home Care Packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Program

Home Care Packages

Home Care Packages (HCP) offer comprehensive care for older Australians with higher support needs. 

They provide four levels of care, ranging from basic to high-level needs. 

Home Care Package services can include:

  • Personal care
  • Specialised nursing
  • Allied Health Services
  • Help with household tasks
  • Companionship
  • Medication management
  • Transportation
  • Social activities
  • Respite care
  • Occupational therapy
  • 24-hour care

Funding is provided based on your care needs. It's determined through an assessment process.

Of course, to receive care through Home Care Packages, you must be eligible. Eligibility criteria for HCPs can include:

  1. Age requirements (You must be at least 65 years of age)
  2. Aged care needs (You must have certain aged care requirements to remain living at home)

After applying, you will go through an assessment process with My Aged Care. 

Once you have been assessed and deemed eligible, you will be able to choose a home care provider.

Commonwealth Home Support Program

The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) is a government-funded program for seniors.

It's designed for those who need entry-level support to remain independent at home. 

It offers a range of basic services such as:

  • Domestic assistance
  • Personal care
  • Preparing meals
  • Transport
  • Respite care
  • Home maintenance
  • Home modifications
  • Social support

CHSP services are subsidised by the government, with clients contributing to the cost based on their ability to pay.

When it comes to eligibility, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Age: You must be aged 65 years or older.
  2. Need for Assistance: You must need basic, entry-level support to live independently at home.
  3. Residency: You must be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or a holder of a special category visa (e.g., New Zealand citizens living in Australia).

To apply for this program, you must go through an in-home assessment. The assessment focuses on your needs, current support, living arrangements, health, and well-being.

Two tables listing some of the services provided by Home Care Packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Program

Who Should Choose Home Care Packages

Home Care Packages are ideal for individuals with more complex or higher care needs. It's for people who need long-term support. 

These include:

  • Older adults with significant care needs
  • Those who need regular medical and nursing care
  • People with chronic conditions or disabilities
  • Those who need coordinated care services
  • Seniors who need flexible and tailored care solutions

HCP is suitable for those needing regular nursing care, help with daily activities or specialised health services.

Those who have chronic health conditions, disabilities, or need rehabilitation services would benefit from Home Care Packages.

If you need extensive support on a daily basis, HCP can provide a tailored care plan to suit your needs.

Basically, anyone senior who would like to stay at home and not move to a nursing home can apply for Home Care Packages.

Who Should Choose the Commonwealth Home Support Program?

The Commonwealth Home Support Program is best suited for:

  • Older adults who need minimal to moderate assistance
  • People needing basic support
  • Those who want to maintain independence at home
  • People recovering from short-term health issues

If you are mostly independent but need some help with specific tasks, CHSP can provide the necessary support. 

It is a good choice for those looking to maintain their independence with occasional help. This can include areas like housekeeping, transportation, or meal preparation. 

CHSP is also beneficial for those who need short-term support after a hospital stay or during recovery from an illness.

CHSP is ideal for those who are relatively independent but need some help to continue living safely and comfortably in their own homes.

A table that lists who should apply for Home Care Packages and who should apply for the Commonwealth Home Support Program

Transitioning Between Programs

Some people may want to move from one program to another. For example, from the CHSP to the HCP program. 

There may be many reasons why you might want to transition, such as:

  1. You may need a higher level of care than what the CHSP can provide.
  2. You may need more comprehensive support.
  3. You may want your care to be more personalised, which is what Home Care Packages offer.
  4. You may need consistent, long-term care.
  5. You may have complex medical conditions that require regular professional medical attention.
  6. You may be eligible for higher funding levels.

As you can see, there are more than a few reasons you may want to transition to Home Care Packages. 

Moving from CHSP to HCP

Transitioning from CHSP to HCP is common as care needs increase over time. 

To move to HCP, you must undergo an assessment by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). This assessment will determine your eligibility and the level of care required. 

Once approved, you will be placed on a waiting list for a suitable package. It's important to start this process early, as wait times can vary.

Applicants usually wait for a few months before being contacted by My Aged Care. 

The good news is that you will be able to receive CHSP services while being on the HCP waiting list. 

You will then find out which Home Care Package level you have been assigned to. Level 1 and Level 2 are for basic and low-level needs, while Level 3 and Level 4 are for intermediate and high-level needs.

From this point on, you will be allowed to choose a home care provider. 

Combining CHSP and HCP Services

In some cases, it's possible to combine CHSP and HCP services to ensure comprehensive care. 

This might happen when you are waiting for an HCP to become available but need immediate support, as mentioned above. 

You can use CHSP services to fill the gap, ensuring continuous care. 

Coordination between CHSP providers and your future HCP provider is crucial to manage services effectively without duplication.

Knowing What's Right for Your Needs

Choosing between the Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care Packages depends on your individual care needs. 

CHSP offers entry-level support for those needing occasional help. The HCP program provides extensive care for those with higher needs. 

Whether you need minimal help or comprehensive care, both programs aim to support your independence and enhance your quality of life. 

Transitioning between programs or combining services ensures you receive the right level of care as your needs change.

If you are looking for a Home Care Package provider, look no further than Inclusive Home Care.

We are prepared to provide you with the best in-home care, making sure all your needs are met. Call us if you have any questions or if you would like to know more.

Schedule a free personalised consultation now.

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