5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Care Service Provider

on the Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Not all home care service providers are the same. It’s become a confusing area for many people, so AccessCare have put together the top five questions to ask service providers when you are shopping around.

  • 1. What are the different kinds of packages available?

Different providers offer different types of packages including full service, self-managed and private fee pay advice.

Full service packages provide you with comprehensive and unlimited advice (case management) and access to all the services you need to stay in your home within your package budget.

Self-management allows you to allocate the funds in your package as you wish. It does require you or a family member to oversee all the administrative tasks and to work directly with the providers of each service you use.

Private fee paying advice, where you pay as you go. You may choose to access care privately for many reasons including not being eligible for a government-funded Home Care Package.

  • 2. How much Home Care experience does your Provider have?

Recent changes in the Aged Care industry has seen more competition. Many companies, some with limited experience in home-based care, have expanded their businesses.

Competition can make services better and cheaper. However, when you’re making decisions about the kinds of services that will help you stay safe and happy in your own home, working with people who know the industry inside and out is advisable.

  • 3. What level of experience do your care workers have?

There is a large variation in the experience and qualifications of care workers. For instance, at AccessCare all home care and domestic support workers are Certificate 3 qualified. All Aged Care Advisers are tertiary-qualified professionals, mostly in an allied health field.

  • 4. What costs are associated with the packages?

All providers charge for their services. How much each provider charges will depend on many things, including how efficient and experienced they are. The cost of administering your package will depend on your specific circumstances and what services you access.

There are different ways that service providers distribute their fees. Some have higher hourly rates, but low administrative fees and no cancellation fees. Some charge for everything by the hour including case management and travel time.  It pays to ask for all the costs and put together the full picture of fees being charged. Types of fees include:

  • Hourly rates
  • Cancellation fees
  • Extra advice (case management) fees, such as travel charges
  • Exit fees: Compare the cost as well as the notice time required. This comes out of your package and is not a direct fee to you.
  • Advice time limits and charges
  • Income Tests fees: these fees are the same regardless of which provider you choose. They are decided through Centrelink.
  • 5. Who suits self- managed packages?

There are some providers that only offer self-managed packages. The main benefit will be the lower administrative costs of these packages – they are cheaper for you, and they are cheaper for the company that delivers them because they don’t hire staff to manage your package.

People who are good candidates for self-management are those at low risk of impaired decision-making due to a health condition (such as dementia), and have the time and energy to undertake all the work associated with managing their own package.

You may decide to start off with a self managed package and upgrade to a full service package when your needs increase. To give you flexibility, look for service providers that offer both self managed and full service packages.

Call AccessCare on 1300 819 200 to discuss your personal situation with AccessCare's friendly team.

Find out more about AccessCare.