10 Tips for Choosing Home Care Package Providers
10 Tips for Choosing Home Care Package Providers
Need help choosing a My Aged Care Home Care Package provider?
For an older person who wants to live independently but needs some extra support at home, a home care provider that accepts government funding can be just what you need.
However, finding and evaluating Home Care Package providers can be daunting. Here are our top 10 tips on where to search and what to look for.
1. Start by Getting Assessed
Before you can start comparing different Home Care Package providers, you will need to have your care needs and financial situation assessed.
You must register with My Aged Care to start the process. My Aged Care is a government service providing access to the aged care system in Australia including in-home support.
You can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or you can apply for an assessment online. The application can also be completed by a family member or friend on your behalf.
My Aged Care will then arrange for a health professional to meet with you to discuss your current health, medical history and lifestyle to learn about the type of home care services that you may require.
You will also complete an income assessment to let the government know how much, if anything, you can afford to contribute towards the costs of your care.
2. Understand Your Home Care Package
Once you have completed your Aged Care Assessment, you will receive a letter to let you know if you have been approved for a My Aged Care Home Care Package.
This is a coordinated package of government-funded care and services, designed to support you to continue living independently in your own home as long as possible.
There are four different levels of Home Care Packages. The one you are approved for will depend on whether you have low-level care needs, high-level care needs or something in between.
Take some time to understand the value of your package, what sort of care you can expect to receive, as well as how many care hours you should expect before you start talking to Home Care Package providers.
3. List Your Care Needs
List the things you are looking for in your new service. These may relate to staff (gender, language, culture, consistency), availability (day, weekend or evening service), or the range of services provided (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, gardening).
Some providers provide certain services with more flexibility and affordability than others.
For instance, you may require personal care, meal preparation and nursing care. Or, you might need specialised assistance for a condition like dementia, or an allied health service such as occupational therapy.
Beyond your physical wellbeing, you may also be looking for specific cultural, spiritual or social support.
By being clear on your care needs, you will be best placed to evaluate how different Home Care Package providers can support you.
4. Find Local Home Care Package Providers Through My Aged Care
The best way to find Home Care Package providers that can accept your government subsidy is to use the My Aged Care website’s find a provider tool. Once you submit your search inquiry, you will see a list of My Aged Care Home Care Package providers that meet your general needs.
From there, you can take a closer look at their specific locations and use the comparison tool to see how they stack up. The comparison feature will show cost breakdowns as well as care specialisations and contact information.
5. Compare Home Care Package Costs
There are a number of fees to consider when choosing your Home Care Package provider. Many of these fees will come out of your Home Care Package but some may come out of your own pocket.
There are three types of fees you may be asked to pay out of your own pocket:
- A basic daily fee which is set by the government. The current maximum daily fee is $10.85 per day. Some providers, including Mayflower, do not charge this fee.
- An income tested care fee is also set by the government. This is an additional contribution some people need to pay based on their financial situation. Full pensioners do not have to pay this fee.
- Additional fees are any other amount you may agree to pay for extra care and services that are not already covered by your Home Care Package.
Fees that you may pay through your Home Care Package include:
- Establishment and exit fees. Some providers may charge a one-off fee when you start or exit your Home Care Package service. Mayflower does not charge either of these fees.
- Care management and package management fees. Most providers charge both these fees so it’s worth comparing the costs. Care management ensures you get the coordinated care you need and includes creating and reviewing care plans and coordinating your services. Package management covers administration such as preparing monthly statements, compliance and quality assurance activities.
- Service fees will vary depending on your choice of provider and when the services are delivered. You can quickly compare the hourly rate for common services such personal care, nursing, cleaning and gardening using the comparison tool on the My Aged Care website.
6. Check Experience
Competition in the home care market has increased significantly in recent years, with many new Home Care Package providers entering the market.
Take the time to carefully review the experience of any provider you are considering, including the qualifications of their staff and how long they have been operating in the aged care industry.
7. Interview Home Care Providers
Once you have a clear understanding of what services you're looking for, you can start talking to Home Care Package providers to see if they can meet your individual needs.
Important questions to ask Home Care Package providers:
- How do their home care services align with your needs?
- Do they employ their own staff or use agency staff?
- What is the required level of training for their care coordinators and their care staff?
- How often do care coordinators visit and speak with clients?
- How often are care plans reviewed and evaluated?
- How do they ensure you will get consistent care workers?
8. Make Sure They Accept Your Government Funding
If you are searching outside My Aged Care and you come across other home care providers, keep in mind that not all providers can accept your government subsidies. Instead, you would need to pay the costs with your personal funds.
9. Check The Provider Meets Care Quality Standards
All Home Care Package providers must meet a set of eight standards determined by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
You can see the results of quality evaluations through the My Aged Care search and comparison tool. It is also wise to speak with a provider to find out how they ensure compliance across their care delivery.
10. Work Out the Timeline and Costs of Your Care
Once you’ve found a few Home Care Package providers that align with your needs and preferences, work with them to lay out the timeline as well as the actual costs.
Some providers may have a waiting period you will need to consider. Others may waive certain fees, which can add up to significant savings. Ironing out the details can help you confidently choose the right provider.