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Support at Home Program: What you need to know and how to future proof your organisation

Karen Tansey - Aged Care Specialist, Lumary

With the home care industry beginning its transition to the new Support at Home Program, Lumary’s Aged Care Specialist Karen Tansey delves into the expected changes and what aged care providers can do to future-proof their organisation.

As the home aged care industry continues to expand with over a million clients already, the aim is to support the ageing community to remain in their own homes for as long as possible and to prevent the elderly from entering residential care earlier than required.

 

Transitioning to the Support at Home Program

In-home care currently has several programs based on varied models, which can be confusing to navigate.

This confusion has at times led to recipients being allocated funding at a higher level than required with greater services allocated, when it may only be necessary for a short time resulting in surplus funds. On the other hand, we find some recipients with insufficient funds for services at a time of need resulting in the inability to access care or with reduced services allocated to meet their needs.

So what’s the overall impact? 

We see many care recipients receiving varied care programs that do not always meet an individual’s need to be appropriately supported at home. This inconsistency in the quality of care delivery results in the sector underachieving on the goal for our elderly to remain in the comfort of their own homes for longer.

As the aged care sector continues to reform, it’s more than likely that the complexities the sector is facing around navigating the regulatory program will continue. But that does not mean providers need to operate in a state of confusion. Providers are increasingly turning to purpose-built care management software to support their organisation through the transition and beyond.

At Lumary, we see the importance of having in-house specialists to navigate the ever changing rules and then investing this knowledge in our software to ensure it meets the needs of the evolving regulatory framework.

With the support of a complete digitally integrated care management solution, providers can maintain compliance and easily report on data in real-time, streamline administrative tasks and have peace of mind knowing they can deliver value-based care to their clients.

 

What’s coming in July 2023?

A major shake-up to the aged care industry will see Home Care Packages (HCP), Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and Short Term Restorative Care (STRC) combine to form one single interactive Support at Home Program in July 2023.

This program will reform all aspects of in-home aged care, including assessment, reablement and restorative care, focusing on individualised support plans, clarity on service inclusions, funding of providers, and market regulation.

Supported in-home care recipients would receive individualised service approvals. Allocation to a home care package (Level I to Level IV) based on assessment will soon be via access to services based on their assessed aged care needs and personal circumstances. 

Aged care clients will have access to a new program for goods, equipment, assistive technologies, and home modifications needed to live safely and independently, rather than needing to ‘save up’ package funds for these purchases. 

The new funding model would support point-of-delivery payments for service providers, which will potentially reduce providers reporting requirements, creating greater transparency, while also reducing costs and administration fees.

The focus of the Support at Home assessments would be individuals’ independence, providing the opportunity for guidance and support to delay functional decline. Aged care recipients would have greater choice between providers to deliver their care.

In addition, a risk-proportionate regulation model is being developed to support care businesses and care workers to participate in the delivery of safe and high-quality aged care services in a home environment.

 

Important steps to take before July 2023

At the moment, there are many unknowns but during this transition, the need to maintain standards of care and services to ensure compliance, and quality client services and safety will remain a focus.

How can your organisation meet a high level of consumer-directed care and maintain compliance during this transition period and moving forward? Two actions are recommended:

  1. Complete an organisation-wide Self-Assessment
  2. Review the National Aged Care Quality Standards

While reporting with the new Support at Home Program aims to become more streamlined, we can expect an increased focus on reporting. This stems from the commitments made off the back of the Aged Care Royal Commission. As such, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of your reporting requirements.

Interoperable software with the added benefit of having one integrated digital solution will support your workforce with better visibility of your data. With real-time integration and intuitive analytics dashboards, providers can transparently prepare reports of any data in your system.

Carer and a senior man during home visit

 

How to stay informed about the changing requirements

The Support at Home Program requirements are due to commence in July 2022. The Department of Health will provide regulatory updates via correspondence and webinars. It is believed this will be a similar process to that of the Home Care Packages transition to Improved Payment Arrangements (IPA) in 2021.

There will be a series of webinars focused on the implementation of the Support at Home Program and what is likely to be necessary for software updates to support businesses operationally, improve the delivery of services and clients ongoing support and safety. Registration for the update webinar scheduled for early March 2022 is now available.

 

Is your organisation future-proofed?

Ultimately, it’s positive to see the Government further moving towards a program that supports the needs of our ageing community while also looking to streamline the regulatory process for providers. While we can expect many aspects of regulation to remain fundamentally as they are, there will be many moving parts for providers to navigate during this transition.

To support aged care providers during this time, Lumary’s focus will be to proactively   develop our healthcare platform to meet providers’ implementation needs for the new Support at Home Program. We believe it’s imperative that our purpose-built software continues to evolve as the sector does with the support of industry experts, aged care providers and our in-house aged care specialists.

If you’re a provider of the Commonwealth Home Support Program, Home Care Packages, Short Term Respite Care and/or Residential Respite, contact the Lumary team today to speak with one of our experts about how you can future-proof your organisation and get ahead before the start of the new aged care program in July 2023.