What is a Home Care Package?
A Home Care Package is a set of services provided by the HSE to help an older person to be cared for in their own home. The services, for example additional home help hours, nursing services, therapy services, might be needed due to illness, disability or after a stay in hospital or following rehabilitation in a nursing home. A Home Care Package includes extra services and supports that are over and above the normal community services that the HSE provides directly or through a HSE funded service. Community services, provided by the HSE, and HSE funded providers, include home help, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech & language therapy, day care services and respite care.
Home Care Package Providers
From the 1st September 2016all new Home Care Packages approved by the HSE will be provided by organisations that have been approved by the HSE following a detailed tender process.
The 32 approved providers, appointed under the 2016 tender process meet a required level of national standards. However it is important to note that existing providers also provide a quality service work under agreed standards, which are monitored by staff in the local health office.
What does a Home Care Package include?
Services provided through a home care package are flexible, but might include additional home help hours, nursing care, physiotherapy, respite care etc to support the clients’ needs. Services may be provided directly by the HSE by its own staff, for example, home help workers and nurses, by voluntary providers operating on behalf of the HSE or by private care providers.
Who can apply for a Home Care Package?
The Home Care Package Scheme has been established to support older people to return home following a hospital stay or to remain at home longer rather than be admitted to hospital or a nursing home. Therefore the vast majority of people who apply will be aged over 65 and already using some HSE community services and the vast majority of applications approved will be from older people. If a younger person’s assessed needs, e.g. early onset dementia, can be best met by services designed for older people then occasionally such an application may be considered. People who have no current community services may also apply for a Home Care Package, if they have increased care needs as a result of a significant episode of illness.
Is there a means or income test?
You do not need to have a medical card in order to apply for a Home Care Package. There will be no means test - there will be no assessment of your income. The supports you receive, if any, will be based on your assessed care needs subject to the limit of the resources available for the scheme in the local health office area.
What does a Home Care Package cost?
Home Care Packages are provided to eligible clients at no cost, as part of the public health service. However, if you arrange services or supports above the levels provided by the HSE you will have to pay for the cost of those services yourself.
What happens when I apply for a Home Care Package?
When you apply, the HSE will carry out a Care Needs Assessment for you. This will look at your overall health care needs and your social circumstances, and will identify what level of care you are currently receiving and what other supports you may need. In order to be allocated a Home Care Package, this assessment has to confirm that enhanced levels of service/support are required. If the care needs assessment shows that additional services/supports are not needed, the application for a Home Care Package will be refused.
What does the Care Needs Assessment involve?
A Care Needs Assessment identifies your overall health needs and your level of dependency. This is done to make sure that your get the right kind of care in the right place - in your home, in a hospital, or in some cases in a nursing home. It will be done by a health care worker, like a public health nurse or physiotherapist etc. The assessment will look at your needs, including:
Your ability to carry out the activities of daily living, e.g. bathing, shopping, dressing and moving around,
Any medical, health and personal social services being provided to you,
Your family, social and community supports,
Your wishes and preferences.
The assessment may include a physical examination by a healthcare professional. A report will be prepared to record your care needs and a copy will be provided to you.
How do I apply?
Fill in the Home Care Package application form and send it to the Home Care Package Manager at your local health office. The addresses are included in the application form and information booklet.
What if I am currently in hospital?
If you are in hospital you should ask a nurse or other relevant person such as a social worker in your ward for an application form. This should be completed and returned to the relevant local office. The nursing staff or the relevant person may be able to assist you with completing the application form.
What do I need to include with my application form?
No documents are needed with your application form. However, if you would like to ask your Doctor (GP) to write a letter explaining how a Home Care Package might benefit you please feel free to send us a copy so we can take this into account.
What if my circumstances or my care needs change?
When a Home Care Package is provided, we will also make an arrangement for regular reviews of your needs. The review will ensure that you are receiving the level of care that you require. The level of care may be adjusted depending on the outcome of the review. For example, if you have recovered following an illness and you no longer require the level of care initially approved as part of the care package, it may be appropriate that your needs be met by routine community services. As part of the regular review you may be asked to complete a short form which we will give you at the time of the review. Your comments will help us to understand what you think of the Home Care Package and will help us to improve the scheme for you and for others. Outside of regular reviews, if your circumstances change in a way that affects your need for a Home Care Package you must notify the HSE local office. Examples of changed circumstances include admission to hospital, availing of respite care, temporary stay with family/relatives in their home.