Selecting Your Home Care Provider
Aged care services are many and varied, and Home Care can help you remain independent, in your own home, for as long as possible. Because everyone's needs and circumstances are different, a range of Home Care services are available to you – the challenge is selecting the right provider to meet your needs.
Once you have been assessed and your Home Care Package (HCP) allocated, it is time to evaluate and select a suitable Home Care provider. Choosing who will manage your HCP is an important decision. Ideally, your research should cover multiple providers to determine what best meet your care needs and budget.
Making the right decision, especially for a loved one, can be daunting. We have created a five-step plan for you to follow to simplify the selection process when undertaking this research.
1. What services do you require?
Each individual's care needs will differ, and some providers may not meet all your requirements. The first step is to document the services you need and check that each provider can deliver them.
Services may include:
Driving to appointments
You may have more specific requirements; for example, you may prefer carers of a particular culture, gender or ethnicity.
You may require specialised dementia care, overnight or weekend care, or staff to assist where mobility is limited.
The range of services may also need access to allied health professionals, such as physiotherapists or podiatrists.
2. What providers are located within your area?
It is easier and more cost-effective for care services to be delivered from a provider within your local area.
A simple way to find local providers is to utilise the myagedcare website. Using the site's service finder tool, you can locate information and filter for providers that offer the service level required.
3. Compare the providers you have identified
Once you have created a shortlist, you should compare the providers on three key attributes.
Possibly the most important consideration of all relates to the care staff who will be carrying out the care duties within your home. Carers often work alone, so they must be adequately screened, trained and monitored to ensure you receive high-quality care.
As your home care package will provide you with a specific funding level to meet your care needs, it is essential to understand the provider's type and level of fees to ensure you maximise your benefits.
Administration/Case Management Fee – the provider will charge a fee for managing your care package. These fees can vary widely, ranging from 15% to 50%. It is reasonable to expect that operating a home care business costs need to be recouped for the provider to remain viable. The industry average is 25%.
Hourly rates are the rates charged for providing services such as personal care, cleaning, and allied health visits. Some providers have been known to charge individual care rates of $80 per hour, with carers receiving around $22 per hour. Therefore, it is essential to understand the hourly rate that will be charged for each service, determine whether it is reasonable, and see how it compares to other service providers.
Monthly statement – the service provider must supply a monthly statement that details the amounts charged for the services delivered. It is advisable to view a sample client statement to check for transparency and clarity and see how the provider accounts for unspent funds.
Communication and Reputation
As you will continue to have an ongoing relationship with the Home Care provider, appropriate communication pathways must be in place. As your care needs change over time, regular reviews must be carried out and communicated with you and your family.
The reputation of the home care provider is also worth exploring. Additionally, you should consider the overall mission of the service provider; are they a non-profit, church, community based or for-profit organisation? The length of time they have been providing services within the community is also a key consideration.
4. Are fees negotiable – can you elect to pay for some services privately?
Some providers are willing to negotiate the daily care fee contribution, with some charging less than the maximum allowable amount.
You decide as to what will be funded by your care package. You may find it is more cost-effective for some services to be privately financed; for example, services such as cleaning and gardening may be less expensive when sourced privately rather than via the home care service provider.
Check exit Fees
Check whether the home care provider charges exit fees. If you decide that the service is no longer suitable or cannot provide higher care needs, you should ascertain whether an exit fee will apply if a new service provider is engaged.
Be sure to understand this and check the amount before signing any contracts.
5. Other considerations
If you do not feel comfortable communicating and negotiating with service providers, use the support of a family member or friend who can provide initial and ongoing support as required. Home care needs evolve, and complex decisions relating to your care must be made regularly to ensure you can remain living independently for as long as possible.
If you live in a remote or rural location, you may have fewer choices in terms of service providers. In these circumstances, it may be more cost-effective to look outside of the HCP for some services, such as cleaning and gardening.
Whatever your needs from a Home Care service, be sure to do the research, ask plenty of questions and importantly, be comfortable with the people delivering your service. If you want to remain living independently in your own home, you need to select the Home Care service to enable you to do this comfortably.
Book a chat with Bill to discuss your options.
Disclaimer: Prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article, Olive Grove Financial Advice recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Information in this article was correct and current as of 23 May 2022.
Olive Grove Financial Advice is operated by Bill Savellis through The Financial Advisor (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 72 619 546 431, who is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 1278394) of Havana Financial Services Pty Ltd.