• Jenni Perkins

Having choice and control over the home care services you receive

As a recipient of services under a Home Care Package or the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, you have rights and responsibilities which are outlined in the Charter of Care Recipient's Rights and Responsibilities. The first right listed under the charter is ‘to be treated and accepted as an individual and to have ...(your) individual preferences respected’. Home Care providers are required to adopt a consumer directed care approach – this translates to consumer choice and flexibility, and under the Charter consumers have the ‘right to make decisions relating to their own care; the right to choose the care and services that best meet their goals (within the limits of the available resources) and the right to have choice and flexibility in the way the care and services are provided at home’. This means that if you have an existing service (for example, a gardener or lawn mowing operator) that you would like to incorporate into your package of care, then you can ask your service provider to do this.

A friend’s mother recently commenced receiving services under a home care package. The agreed care plan included gardening support. In talking with my friend about her mother, it was of some surprise (if not frustration from my friend) that her mother’s service provider a) made no mention of the possibility of continuing with her existing lawn mowerman/gardener and b) when told that her mother would prefer to continue using the same services, some two months down the track (with visits by four different gardeners provided by the home care provider over that time – suggesting some communication and coordination challenges within the agency) it has still not been possible for her mother to retain her previous gardener.

Clearly some agencies are experiencing teething problems in implementing the government’s ‘consumer directed care’ model. This is what makes the Charter of Care for recipients of home care services so important.

Check out the free resources available at Live Well Longer - Ageing at Home, including our resource ‘getting the most out of your home care package’.