Why CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program) funding is sometimes not enough

There two main programs available to older Australians to receive help at home are the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and Home Care Packages.

Both programs have the same intention, to help older Australians to access support at home, but there are significant differences that you need to understand with each funding program that has been assigned to you.

CHSP funding is for people living at home that require task specific assistance. As people age or there are health changes this may not be enough to meet an individual’s needs. CHSP funding suits people who are managing well with most things at home but might need a little bit of help with one or two things.

Home Care Package funding is designed for people choosing to live at home but have more complex care needs or a stronger emphasis on developing a lifestyle with the help of a home care package. Home care packages when allocated, are for the long term and the assistance you can access is designed and directed by you in partnership with the home care provider of your choice.

Home care packages work under the model of care called Consumer Directed Care (CDC) and this was introduced in July 2015. It places the responsibility of choosing the way your care is delivered in your hands, so that you create a care plan that meets your specific lifestyle needs. CDC is an integral part of creating and managing your Home Care Package plan.

There is a national waiting list for a Home Care Package, so the government may issue CHSP services after a Regional Assessment Service (RAS). This will help you in the interim while you are waiting, or until your needs become more complex and need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). It is important to think ahead and we recommend that you consider how to start the Home Care Package application process as you may need to wait up to 18 months.

Some our clients get frustrated with CHSP because it is service orientated and does not take a holistic consumer driven approach like home care packages. Organisations such as COTA have tirelessly worked for better outcomes for elderly Australians through consumer directed care.

CHSP is:

  • Service driven, not consumer driven
  • You get one referral code per service (for example, one for gardening, one for shopping, one for cleaning) and you have to shop around to find out who can actually provide the service which is time consuming
  • You do not get a choice on how to manage and spend your funds to meet your needs
  • An example we have heard from clients with CHSP funding who feel their needs are more complex - cleaning assistance used to be the bathroom and kitchen only but now their partner’s or their own health/mobility has changed and they need help with vacuuming, cleaning the car, sweeping and cleaning outside, help with the laundry or get washing from the line or to prepare dinner – CHSP does not change as your needs change.

A home care package on the other hand, is designed to:

  • Support you to meet your lifestyle goals
  • Help you stay fit and socially active
  • Provide care during times of illness
  • Provide 24x7 support when you need it
  • Your care is provided by one organisation and you do not need to call around for services.

Here are some typical examples where a home care package will better support you or your loved one to remain at home comfortably.

My Mum needs medication help because she forgets to take it

A home care plan will incorporate your mum’s medication schedule and ensure she is getting the medication that she needs. We use reminders and schedule visits to keep this on track.

My parent’s garden needs some tending to, not just the housework

If a carer sees that the garden needs some tending to, and they are helping your parents clean the house that day, they have the flexibility to spend some time outside on the garden as well, without restrictions due to “job allocations”.

I need help with the garden but also some help with the shopping

We will schedule time to help with planting those new seedlings for spring but will also take you down to the local nursery to pick up some mulch or the supermarket for some groceries.

I like to make tomato sauce from my tomatoes in the garden – it is a family tradition

A home care plan can include supporting family traditions such making tomato sauce annually. We can help you plant enough tomatoes and pick the produce off the trees in preparation for tomato sauce making day.

I need someone to drive me to my specialist appointments

Any time you need someone to take you out to appointments, we will drive you and take you home.

My elderly aunt needs someone to take her grocery shopping and help her put it away

Home care means we will take you grocery shopping, and then help you put the shopping away in your pantry. We will also suggest ways to make the pantry more accessible for you to easily find what you need.

My mother needs to get out and about and socialise more – she is staying indoors too much

Staying socially active is an important part of our home care support. We help our home care clients stay in touch with their local community and do what they enjoy.

My Dad likes to go to the cinema when there is a good movie on

It is these little things that make some of our clients happy. If this is what your Dad likes to do, then we will make it happen and build this into his home care plan.

My Dad is too tired to help my mother who has recently come out of hospital

Many of our clients plan for much needed respite care into their home care plan. This gives them great peace of mind, knowing that they have options when they become tired or unwell.

CSHP funding is limited and not always needs-focussed

CHSP funding has helped many Australians stay at home with some additional specific task assistance some help at home, as their needs are not complex. However a home care package helps you stay at home, meeting your lifestyle needs, in a holistic way that matters to you. You get the care you want, when you need it. If we are cleaning your home, and you need us to sweep the back patio or front porch, it can be added to your care plan. We help you live the life you want.

Call the St Louis Home Care team in Adelaide on 08 8332 0950 or Victor Harbor Home Care on 8552 1481 for a confidential no obligation conversation to start planning your future.

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