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Common questions

From basic odds and ends around the house to accompanying you on trips and vacations, we can assist you with our range of services.

From government funding to paying privately, there are a number of ways to pay for the services you need. If you would like to discuss your options further, please phone us on 1300 160 170 and we will be happy to assist. Otherwise, please refer to our funding options guide.

Do Australian Unity support workers have the relevant training and qualifications has the relevant experience and qualifications and that they satisfy our rigorous reference and police checks. All of our team members are committed to providing the quality of service you would expect from Australian Unity. We want you to feel comfortable knowing you will have a friendly, reliable and trusted assistant.

The support and services Australian Unity provides are extremely flexible. You can always finish, change or add to your support plan at any time. The choice and control is entirely in your hands.

Once you have made initial contact with Australian Unity, one of our home services representatives will meet with you to assess your needs and discuss the services available. We will then provide you with a detailed support plan outlining everything discussed. If you are happy to proceed, we will get to work matching you with most suited Australian Unity team member, activities, timings and funding options.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a new national initiative set to transform the way people with disability are supported.

It began its three-year Australia-wide rollout on 1 July this year. The scheme will revolutionise the way people with disability receive the services and supports they need to actively contribute to Australian life.

It will bring life-changing benefits not just to their lives, but also their families, carers and communities. Trial rollouts have been underway in selected Australian locations for three years, providing practical examples of how the NDIS works.

For more information call us on 1300 160 170 or contact us online.

Debra Baldwin from Australian Unity’s Home Care Service, explains that under the previous system, restricted funding hours meant that “many of our clients were only supported for their most basic needs and had very limited access to the community or social support services. Now they have greater opportunity for access to services and we can support them to achieve their goals and improve their lifestyles,”

Most significantly, the NDIS focuses on the person. If there’s a disparity between a person’s life and the milestones of an ordinary life, the NDIS aims to help that person bridge the gap. What constitutes an ordinary life might be something as simple as catching a bus to the shops, having someone to take you out for a meal or a coffee, studying, learning how to use an iPad, or going to a football game. In services terms, it could include personal assistance with getting ready for the day or being able to have regular, home-cooked meals or assistance with transport to community activities. In short, the NDIS is about much more than day-to-day living.

For more information call us on 1300 160 170 or contact us online.

In simple terms, the Australian Government is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which calls for governments to provide all support “reasonable and necessary” to living an “ordinary life”. The existing system was identified as underfunded, unfair and inefficient, and was redesigned, from scratch. The result is the NDIS.

An ordinary life is, in part, about equitable access to services and amenities, such as having wheelchair access and accessible toilets in all buildings. Largely, it’s about the community’s idea of the milestones of each life stage: attending primary school and high school; having access to further education; holding a job; developing a career; seeing films and concerts; taking holidays. Not everyone with disability can do all of these things but with the right support, the NDIS aims to assist people in getting as close as they want to, or is possible.

For more information call us on 1300 160 170 or contact us online.

The NDIS is run by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), a government body that determines who is eligible to become a participant in the scheme. This includes anyone who has permanent disability that significantly affects their everyday activities and who is under the age of 65 years when they first access the scheme.

An NDIA representative will meet individuals to discuss their goals and create an individual plan, including supports related to the person’s disability. Goals might focus on health, employment, social participation, education and independence. The plan is the basis for determining the person’s funding for the year ahead and will be reviewed regularly. The scheme provides a lifelong commitment to meeting the needs of the person.

The funding model is the other significant change to how people obtain services, says Kaye McCulloch from Australian Unity. “When the client gets their plan, they can decide how the money will be managed,” Kaye says. “The NDIA can manage those funds, or people can choose to manage it themselves or to do it in partnership with the NDIA.” Whoever manages the funds, the decision on who provides services remains with the participant.

If you are unsure of your eligibility for NDIS funding, you will need to contact the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110 or visit their website to assess yourself against the criteria.

Australian Unity is supporting existing clients with disability services for a smooth transition to the NDIS by providing free information sessions and offering one-on-one pre-planning meetings. The pre-planning meetings with Australian Unity are to discuss clients’ current support arrangements and explore their goals for the future. This will assist clients to feel prepared for when the NDIA planner contacts them to develop their NDIS plan.

Australian Unity is training staff in every branch as NDIS coordinators. These coordinators will be able to provide expert advice and support to clients with disability, while visiting them in their homes as the scheme is rolled out. “Through our understanding of their daily living activities and their current service plan, we will be able to provide clients with pre-planning support and help them articulate their needs and goals as they move to the NDIS,” says Debra, from Australian Unity’s Home Care Service . “The whole point of the plan is to centre on the person with disability and those closest to them. A good plan focuses on what a good life means to each individual, what’s working and what they would like to change, and it addresses the support they need to thrive.”

Services might include support with self-care, overnight care and community participation. A plan could include living in supported accommodation, improving daily living skills and assistive technology such as wheelchairs, ramps and mobility aids.

For more information call us on 1300 160 170 or contact us online.

Debra Baldwin from Australian Unity’s Home Care Service says the NDIS is “the biggest change to the community sector since Medicare”.

Debra, says the enormity of the change offered to participants of the NDIS cannot be underestimated. “It will bring people with disability onto a level playing field with the rest of the community and change their lives for the better,” she says. “Our clients are pleasantly surprised to learn that the disability services they receive now will be moved to a system that will give them greater choice and control over their own lives.”

“Our staff are excited about the scheme as they can see new opportunities for increasing the skills they need to assist their clients to thrive and live their best possible lives,” Debra says. “And families will be given certainty that the scheme will provide guaranteed lifetime support for their loved one.”

For more information call us on 1300 160 170 or contact us online.

If you are living with a disability, our aim is to enable you to achieve your goals and do more of the things you enjoy. Whether that’s through working with you to develop new skills, re-join the workforce, master difficult tasks or access community connections and key services, the choice and control is yours.

We provide a broad range of services and support that are tailored just for you, depending on your specific goals. To discuss a personalised support plan, please phone us on 1300 160 170 or contact us online.

• Transport to daily life activities

 • Support to access your community: going to the library, going out socially, joining a club, getting a job

 • Support for home modification

• Being able to study or learn a new skill

• New mobility aids such as wheelchairs

• Additional therapy: speech therapy, aquatherapy, physiotherapy to gain strength, sign language for communication skills

• New technology: talking scales, audio books, text-to-speech computer software, iPads, computers

• Personal care such as showers, dressing and being assisted to bed

• Medical check ups

• Meal services

• Basic medical equipment

• Basic housework

For more information call us 1300 160 170 or contact us online.

The NDIA meets annually with participants to reassess their plans, so they stay responsive. If someone’s plan relates to education, for example, different support might be needed at the start of that transition and again when transitioning from school to work. “The plan isn’t carved in stone,” Kaye McCulloch from Australian Unity explains. “It’s meant to be a living, breathing document that evolves with that person.”

For more information call us on 1300 160 170 or contact us online.

If you live outside an NDIS trial area or the NDIS isn’t right for you, don’t worry. There are a number of ways to pay for your services, including government funding, private funding and insurance-funded programs including

  • Life Time Care and Support (LTCS)
  • The Transport Accident Commission (TAC)
  • Private funding

For more information call us on 1300 160 170 or contact us online.

There are various costs associated with entering, living in and leaving a retirement community. Here is a list of the most common:

  • Entry price: This is a single up-front payment, also known as an ingoing contribution. It’s similar to, but usually significantly less than, the purchase price of a similar residential property in the same area.
  • Ongoing fees: These are weekly or monthly payments that contribute to the running costs of the community. Think of them as you would body corporate fees when purchasing an apartment or ongoing maintenance costs in your own home.
  • The deferred fee: This is the amount that is paid by the resident when they leave the community and the property has been sold to a new resident. This is usually a percentage of the entry price and will be agreed upon by you and Australian Unity before you move in. The actual amount you pay will depend on a number of variables, such as the community you choose to live in, how long you live there and any capital gain or loss on your home.

Make sure you discuss these fees with a legal or financial adviser so you can consider them against your own financial situation.

For more information about the financial considerations of living in a retirement community, watch our useful video

No, you do not need to pay stamp duty in Australian Unity retirement communities where you take a lease. This is a saving of tens of thousands of dollars.

Residential aged care is the typical reference used for residential care services provided to those who can no longer live independently at home.

Depending on your financial situation, you may be asked to pay one or more of the following fees to cover your care:

  • Daily Care Fees
    All residents are expected to pay a Daily Care or Contribution to Care Fee. This equates to 85% of the single aged pension and covers your day-to-day living costs, including services such as meals, cleaning and some utilities.
  • Accommodation payments
    These costs apply to your accommodation expenses. The Commonwealth Government will subsidise some residents, whilst others will be required to pay an amount agreed with their aged care residence.

To keep things flexible, there are three main ways for you to pay:

  1. Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD)
    • A lump sum paid upfront before you enter your residence.
    • A fully refundable remaining balance should you decide to leave.
  2. Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP)
    • A daily fee paid at set periods during your time in the residence.
    • This is based on the unpaid amount of your RAD, plus the Maximum Permissible Interest Rate (6.75% as of 1 January 2015).
  3. A combination of RAD and DAP
    • Pay a percentage upfront as a RAD and then pay the rest over a set period as a DAP.
    • The higher your RAD, the lower your DAP—the Maximum Permissible Interest Rate will be applied to the lower unpaid amount.

  • Means-tested care fee
    This is an additional contribution towards the cost of care that some people may be required to pay. The Department of Human Services will work out if you are eligible to pay this fee based on an assessment of your income and assets.

An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) is made up of doctors, nurses and social workers, whose job it is to evaluate your care needs and make recommendations to help you get the services you need.

An ACAT Assessment is essentially your way to access aged care support. It is used to determine your eligibility for funding and to decide what level of care you require based on your circumstances and support needs.

To complete your assessment, you will need to contact My Aged Care, the Commonwealth Government body responsible for all aged care services.

You may have anyone present with you for the assessment, such as a carer or family member. If you wish, you can instruct your doctor to provide your medical history to the ACAT representative. These assessments are free.

Once you have completed your ACAT Assessment, you can contact your chosen aged care residence to organise a meeting and discuss your needs and financial options.

Please note, this is subject to availability and is based on your specific care needs.

Yes, the Commonwealth Government’s My Aged Care website and hotline are available to help you understand and navigate the process of accessing aged care services.

You can contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au

Yes, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency accredits and monitors care standards in all facilities.

Accreditation is the formal recognition that an aged care facility is operating in accordance with the legislative requirements of the Aged Care Act 1997 and its amendments and is providing high quality care.

Respite is the typical reference used for temporary care of a person requiring care services.

To receive respite care in a Government funded facility, you must have an aged care assessment with respite approval. Once you have this, you will be able to claim up to 63 days respite per year.

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