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Tips and advice

How to compare Home Care Package providers


It’s finally time to choose your Home Care Package provider after surviving the long months on the National Waitlist.

You’ve got just 56 days to finalise your research and make one of the most important decisions affecting your life right now. Not only do you want to ensure you are getting the most out of your Home Care Package, but stories of poor aged care servicing are all too common, so taking that leap of faith can be daunting.

The vast choice of providers adds to the task and comparing costs models and fee schedules can feel like returning to a problem-solving challenge in a high school maths class. (If Jan needs 3 hours of care per week but has to pay for her carer to travel 12km at a cost of $1.30 per km …help!)

Listening to countless people in the midst of this care comparison crisis, has motivated us to share some of our favourite tips on How to Choose a Home Care Package Provider. Keeping it simple and being clear about what matters to you will help you stay on track and find what you are looking for.

Here’s our tips:

It's personal 

While you’ll want to ensure you are getting the best value care, don’t forget that having someone in your home is personal. You may be new to home care services, but you know when you feel listened to and understood. Has the service taken time to ask about your situation and desires?

Compare apples with apples

Because many providers charge various fees and costs, it is often easier to compare hours of care available after all costs are taken out, instead of trying to calculate budgets. Ask the provider to tell you how many hours of care you can expect to receive based on your funding level?

Don’t get locked in

Too many providers structure packages based on their system, rather than your needs. In practical terms, this can mean restricting services available to you, locking you into contracts, and charging exit fees if you do want to move on, among other issues. Ask about service limitations, and ease of making changes or exiting.

Check head count

Some services can send a revolving door of carers and service providers, so you never know who you’ll see one visit to the next. This can feel pretty intrusive, and your care can be less cohesive as a result. Ask how your care team is structured and how many people you’re likely to see.

Meet and greet

Your care team will include a care manager to oversee your care planning and budget management, as well as the person/people that visit your home to provide direct care. Ask if you can meet your manager to ensure a good fit and ask how they choose your carer. Do you get a say in the traits, personality and expertise of the carer?

Look out for hidden costs

Be sure you understand all the fees that a provider is going to charge you, to avoid bill shock once you’ve signed up. Common fees include:

  • Exit feeif you decide to move on from a service you are not happy with, some may charge you a fee to leave.
  • Setup fee just getting started with some providers can mean paying a set up fee for your service.
  • Basic daily fee this is an out-of-pocket amount some Home Care Package providers charge you directly.
  • Surcharges – be aware some providers add 10-15% for every service provider they arrange to help, such as gardeners.
  • Travel fees – adding a cost per kilometre that your carer travels to your home is another common added extra.
  • Care management surcharges – some Home Care Package providers limit the number of Care Management (CM) hours you can use each month, and charge by the hour for additional time, including phone calls!
  • Cancellation fees – if you need to cancel a planned visit from your carer for some reason, some providers even charge extra for that.  Be sure to ask about the policy for cancelling a shift.

Staying in the loop

When and how your Home Care Package provider communicates with you can make a big difference to your care and progress towards your goals. Ask how often you can expect a formal care review, and how often you can expect a call or visit from your care manager.

In need of in-home aged care services?

Contact us today to find out how we can support you and your loved ones.

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