Aged Care Guide

Mum’s In Hospital – what now?

A Guide for families making decisions about aged care

Having an ageing parent admitted to hospital after an illness or a fall can be a confusing and emotional time.

Often, even when you have talked about this kind of thing with your family, everything is different once it actually happens. It can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders as you try to balance your parent’s need to stay independent with their need to stay safe and healthy.

Usually, a hospital social worker will provide your family with some support and guidance in this situation. If your parent – let’s say it’s your Mum – wants to return home rather than go into residential aged care, there are many options that can make that choice easier for you.

  1. Assessing your parent’s needs – the ACAT

If your Mum will need help at home – either short or long-term – you can ask the hospital for an ACAT assessment. In most cases if there is any concern, the hospital social worker will arrange this as a matter of course before discharge. If there are delays in getting an assessment and your Mum is stuck in hospital as a result, it’s important to keep following up so the process is completed as quickly as possible and your family can plan a way forward.

The ACAT is designed to build a clear picture of your Mum’s needs – it’s not just about her weaknesses, but also her strengths and her ideas about what she wants to do and the support she’ll need to do it.

You and your Mum should be ready to answer open-ended questions and to share important details about medical, social and personal issues.

Sometimes, families will disagree on these issues. In some cases an older person won’t want help, when their family thinks they need it. The barrier might be something as simple as not wanting to have a stranger come into their home to help, or being embarrassed about getting help with personal care.

It’s important to give the assessors as clear a picture as possible of the kind of things your Mum wants to do at home, and the existing supports she has, so they can decide how much support she might need. This will help them decide on the appropriate level of Home Care Package – the higher the level, the more help your Mum will receive towards her care at home.

  1. Phone My Aged Care

My Aged Care is the central contact centre for aged care support in Australia.

Once you have received your ACAT assessment, you can phone them on 1800-200-422 (www.myagedcare.gov.au). You’ll be able to get more information about what local services are available to meet your Mum’s needs, your eligibility for services, and how much they will cost.

Your Mum may be assessed as needing Transition Care (short-term support to help her resettle back at home and regain her confidence), Home Support (occasional services) or a Home Care Package (regular help at different levels of support). My Aged Care will tell you how much your package will be worth and give you options for services that you can spend your funding on.

At the moment, each provider has a certain number of packages of each level, and you need to shop around for a provider in your area who has the level of package you need. If your Mum would prefer to receive care from someone else, you can ask that provider to “broker” the package to another operator. Many Angels in Aprons clients ask major providers to broker their package to Angels in Aprons, because we provide our clients with the same small, reliable team every time – that means Mum doesn’t have the stress of explaining what she needs to new people, and her carers get to know her needs and interests and can better meet them and detect when she needs extra support.

From February 2017, package funding will be allocated direct to the consumer – ie your Mum – and they will be able to take their funding to the package provider of their choice. Ask Angels in Aprons about managing your Home Care Package.

  1. Choose a provider.

As we’ve already discussed, choosing the right provider isn’t just about finding someone who has the level of care you need in your area.

Your provider will offer your Mum a home care contract, and you should have time to properly read through this document. It will include important information about things like how much of your package costs the provider will take in administration fees, and whether there are exit fees if you decide to change providers.

Different providers charge different administration amounts, and in some cases these fees can be quite steep and take up to 40 per cent of your package funds – money that could otherwise be used for hands-on care.

When you’re shopping around for providers, important questions to ask include:

  • How many care hours can you provide for this package?
  • Will my Mum see the same carers every time?
  • Can the carers help Mum with all the tasks she needs help with?
  • What qualifications do the carers have?
  • What happens if Mum doesn’t get on with a particular carer?
  • How much will you charge in administration fees?
  • How involved can we be in managing this package?
  • How often will you review Mum’s care plan?
  • Can we pay extra for additional services or extra hours?
  • Will you broker this package to another provider of Mum’s choice?

Home care can be an excellent option for many older people. Consumer-directed care provides an opportunity for people to continue to live in familiar surroundings in their own community and enjoy the dignity, independence and sense of identity that comes from making the small choices we all make every day. A good home care provider will provide the support needed to retain independence, dignity and control, and that makes for truly positive ageing.

Find out more about what makes Angels in Aprons one of Brisbane’s most trusted home care providers. Call Sharon on 0406-076-885.

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