Recently, some clients have been concerned about the Christmas holidays coming up. During this period, Australia is essentially “closed” because a lot of industries take a break over the Christmas period. Some industries have a two-week holiday, and some industries do not return to work until the end of January. Therefore, a lot of our clients worry that the care services they receive through their Home Care Packages (HCP) will be affected during this period.
That’s why we have created this blog post to explain what you should pay attention to during the Christmas holidays. As well as what arrangements should be made in advance.
First off, you do not need worry. As long as you have certain arrangements in place, your HCP will not be greatly affected.
Case 1: Temporary leave from your HCP.
If a client needs to go on holiday during Christmas, or their carer, children, and relatives return to look after them. Since the client is taken care of during this period by family, they might decide to take temporary leave from their HCP.
What to do?
If you want to temporary stop your HCP services, you only need to inform the service agency (such as support worker agency). Inform them when you want to suspend services, and preferably when you want to resume your services.
In general, the service agency needs to suspend or postpone your services within 24-48 hours in advance.
For example: Mrs Zhang’s daughter is coming back from Sydney for the Christmas period. Mrs Zhang hopes to spend 3 weeks with her daughter. During this period, her daughter can be responsible for housework, hygiene, and cooking. So, Mrs Zhang informed the service agency in advance that from 24th December 2021, care services will be suspended, and resumed on 12th January 2022.
If a client suspends the use of their HCP, for example, to leave home for a vacation, or to stay in a respite centre, or to go overseas for more than 28 days, they need to inform their HCP provider (such as Happy Living)
After notifying your HCP provider, your subsidy will be reduced to 25% of the original amount from the 29th day, until you resume your normal services, the subsidy amount then returns to the original level.
For example, if Mrs Zhang does not need to pay an income tested fee, and she receives a level 3 HCP, the daily HCP amount is $94.66. If Mrs ZHANG leaves from Sydney to Melbourne to visit her daughter, then Mrs ZHANG will need to give her care manager notice of the expected days of travel and the date of return. Within the 28th day of travel, the subsidy is still distributed at $94.66 every day.
From the 29th day after leaving home, Mrs ZHANG only receives 25% of the original allowance every day, which means she will receive $23.67 every day, when Mrs ZHANG returns to Sydney, she will notify her Care Manager and then her daily subsidy will return to the original $94.66.
You will need to pay the income tested fee during temporary leave.
- If you receive a HCP subsidy and you want to suspend care services during the Christmas period, please tell the service agency in advance so they know that you won’t need a support worker to provide home services for that period of time.
- If you leave home or suspend the use of your HCP for more than 28 days, you need to tell your HCP provider.
Case 2: Care worker or service agency goes on holiday.
We often say that Christmas is like the Spring Festival for Australians, and it is the most important holiday in Australia throughout the year. Therefore, it is inevitable that elderly support workers or other service agencies will be closed during Christmas.
In this situation, we generally recommend for our clients to adopt this solution:
If your supporter worker proposes to take a break during Christmas, please contact the service agency and explain that you still need services during Christmas and New Year’s Day and request for another worker to attend to these shifts. At this time, the service agency will generally arrange temporary replacement staff for you. Normally, the replacement staff will be with you for 2-3 weeks.
If your service agency doesn’t have many support workers, but you are a member of Happy Living, please contact Happy Living’s Care Managers. We will try our best to recommend service agencies that are well received by other seniors. You can contact the services agencies and choose service arrangements yourself once we have recommended some options.
Case 3: About holiday service price.
General service agencies may have different charging standards during public holidays. Many HCP recipients understand this, for example, during after-hours or on weekends, the charge for care services will be higher than during regular working hours.
We are still encouraging our clients to continue receiving services during these times. After all, the HCP is an ongoing service subsidy. The purpose is to fully protect the home safety and care needs of the elderly. Therefore, you can ask about the care charges for public holidays before Christmas. This way you can be clear about the price of the services during these periods. Especially for clients who choose our self-managed model, they can better control their subsidy and expenses to meet their own care needs.
Case 4: Allied health services may temporary close during Christmas.
Allied health services can provide support from physiotherapists, nutritionists, foot therapists, speech therapists, etc. Usually, you need allied health services at a session, one session may include 5 to 10 treatments.
Many allied health teams may have a short break during the Christmas period. If you need allied health services, you can contact your physiotherapist, dietitian, etc. before the holiday to confirm the opening hours.
Case 5: Your GP
If the family doctor (GP) is going for Christmas holiday, you should first call the clinic where the GP is located and ask whether other doctors will be available during this period, because your medical records are filed in the same clinic.
If you have medical needs during Christmas and your regular clinic is closed, you need to:
- In an emergency, please call 000 first (if your English language is limited, after 000 is connected, say “Chinese”, and the operator will connect to a Chinese interpreter for free)
- If the situation is okay, please go to the emergency department of a nearby hospital
- For general medical needs, you can search on the Internet for clinics still open during Christmas.
Case 6: What should I do if I don’t want to go anywhere at Christmas when the pandemic is developing?
Happy Living provides our members with online seminars every Friday, and also prepares many public programs for the Chinese community.
For example, the radio you are listening to, weekly newspaper articles, and WeChat articles on mainstream Chinese media.
We have been educating people about the Australian home care industry, various government allowances for the elderly, health knowledge for the elderly and Australian current affairs news.
In October of this year, we had invited Monash Health Geriatrics Consultant and Dr. Pan from Monash University Public Health to answer vaccination misunderstandings.
In January 2022, we will start to organise various online and offline activities for everyone. The goal of this program is to ensure the health of the elderly and avoid the risk of Covid 19.
- If you need more information about HCP:
- Please call our customer service number 1300 911 728 (Mandarin, Cantonese, English)