CHSP expanded to plug service gaps

Home care providers can apply for up to $250,000 per annum to increase service supply under the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

Home care providers can apply for up to $250,000 a year to increase service supply under the Commonwealth Home Support Program, operators have been told.

The announcement was made by Russell Herald – assistant secretary, home support operations branch at the Department of Health and Aged Care – during a webinar last week updating stakeholders on in-home aged care reform.

The funding will bridge the gap between now and when the postponed Support at Home Program comes into play and replaces existing home aged care programs including the CHSP and Home Care Packages on 1 July 2025. This is the program’s second postponement in recent times. It was previously due to be implemented from July this year but was pushed back to 1 July 2024 following stakeholder concerns.

Russell Herald

As well as additional funding, Mr Herald said more providers would be invited to deliver CHSP services. “In terms of bringing in new providers and increasing demand and investing in that area – yes, we are looking at doing that.”

However, he added: “But probably not until 1 July 2024 … More information, I hope, will flow in the next couple of months.”

Assessing care needs

Mr Herald was one of a number of department officials discussing home care reform during a two-hour online event last Thursday.

Nick Morgan – assistant secretary, Support at Home reform branch – spoke to stakeholders about the prototype assessment tool, which is being trialled to evaluate people for in-home care.

For the first year, the tool will be used under existing aged care programs, Mr Morgan told the online audience. “That means the tool will need to be updated ahead of the start of the Support at Home Program to enable assessment into the new program.”

The tool, explained Mr Morgan, collects information about the individual’s aged care needs and sets out service recommendations.

It assesses individuals through a number of lenses:

  • social interactions
  • functional abilities
  • frailty
  • cognitive issues
  • psychological issues
  • health and medical conditions.
Nick Morgan

“The answers collected at assessment will be used to determine a classification for each person in the new program,” said Mr Morgan. “The intention is to group people with similar characteristics to ensure they are getting the right level of services.”

The independent assessment generates a support plan that will specify short-term supports and/or ongoing services, said Mr Morgan.

Short-term supports include:

  • assisted technology and home modifications
  • short-term restorative services
  • specialised support services.

Ongoing supports include:

  • nursing
  • allied health
  • meals
  • transport
  • cleaning
  • home maintenance
  • respite.

“Part of the ongoing support under the program will also be care partners to check in with older people and provide advice on clinical support and service needs,” said Mr Morgan.

Act to define high-quality care, extend whistleblower protections

Also presenting, Melanie Metz – assistant secretary, aged care legislative reform – who provided stakeholders with detail on the proposed new Aged Care Act.

Melanie Metz

 “We intend to define high-quality care in the new Act in line with the recommendation that was made by the royal commission,” she said. “The aim is to make the concept of high-quality care central to the new regulatory model.”

Ms Metz also outlined the government’s new whistleblower policy, which she said was “early in the design phase”.

The Age Care Act currently only protects people who disclose information about defined, reportable incidents under the Serious Incident Response Scheme, explained Ms Metz.

“The proposed new approach will acknowledge the royal commission’s concerns about the limited protections in the current Aged Care Act.” Meaning, individuals might display a reluctance to raise concerns.

Ms Metz told stakeholders the department proposes to broaden the current protections. “What that means is if a person makes a qualifying disclosure their employer would be unable to fire them or to sue them for breach of contract or confidentiality … The proposed approach intends to ensure that people are empowered to disclose information if they think there might be breach of legislation without fear of repercussions.”

Ms Metz said the changes would protect the safety of older people “and we hope it will lead to earlier identification of concerns before they reach the point of becoming a reportable incident.”

Comment on the story below. Follow Australian Ageing Agenda on FacebookX (Twitter) and LinkedIn, sign up to our twice-weekly newsletter and subscribe to AAA magazine for the complete aged care picture.  

Tags: aged care act, assessment tool, CHSP, featured, melanie metz, mick morgan, reform, russel herald, support at home program, webinar,

2 thoughts on “CHSP expanded to plug service gaps

  1. when you say “For the first year, the tool will be used under existing aged care programs, Mr Morgan told the online audience. “That means the tool will need to be updated ahead of the start of the Support at Home Program to enable assessment into the new program.”

    Do you mean it will be used from July 1 , 2024?

  2. Hello Justine. Our understanding is the assessment tool will amended for Support at Home and ready for use from 1 July 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *