• Jenni Perkins

What to look for when choosing a home care provider

There is a rapidly growing home care industry, including not for profit and private providers offering government subsidised and fee-for-service services.

Whether you are looking for a provider for your government subsidised Home Care Package, or seeking to privately purchase services, do your research first. A good place to start is through friends and word of mouth. Cost is not the only factor that you might want to consider.

When I think about what my mother and I valued about her home care provider, it was the commitment and value base of the support workers, which meant that my mother was valued and respected as an individual; having the same support workers which provided continuity and familiarity for my mother; and the flexibility to change the support roster when we needed to.

The home care coordinator always responded promptly, and her willingness to engage with the family and my mother meant that we always felt we were on the same page and working as a team to support my mother to live at home with dignity.

Choosing the right provider can make all the difference to your care experience. It is worth remembering that even if you are accessing a government subsidised Home Care Package, you can select the provider of your choice, and you can change providers if you want to. Factors to consider when choosing a home care provider include:

  • can they deliver the range of services that you want

  • will you have choice over when the services are delivered and by whom

  • what happens if you need to change or cancel your support

  • will it be the same person each time

  • have they had experience with people with needs similar to yours.

When looking at the cost, check what the hourly rates are during the week, after hours, on weekends and on public holidays. Also check what the charge will be for administration or coordination of your support. If you have a subsidised Home Care Package, ask if the provider will negotiate the basic daily fee, and how much it would cost to privately purchase additional hours of service. Also, if you want to change providers, check if there are any exit fees.

For more tips, go to Live Well Longer - ageing at home free resource 'Considerations when choosing a home care provider'.

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