The aged care system can be difficult to understand... especially after you have been assessed and approved for a home care package, and need to choose your approved provider.
There are many, many providers across Tasmania.
Your final choice could make all the different between good or bad outcomes for your health and wellbeing.
A good one:
Is not all about the money, meaning they are more focused on you, your needs and the quality of your care
Is a health professional - able to coordinate all of the care and health needs that will make the biggest difference to your health, wellbeing and quality of life.
Here are 10 things to look for when researching a home care provider:
1. Know what you want
If you have been approved for a home care package, you'll probably be thinking about what services you really need.
Think about what support or services would help you with daily tasks, or enable you to be healthier or happier at home.
You may also consider assistance that enables you to do more for yourself, or more of the things close to your heart.
2. Find 3 providers who cover your area
Use the My Aged Care website to find three providers who service your area, after looking at their own websites. Find 3 that you want to call and with a list of questions you want to ask.
After calling each one, you'll get a good idea from how they respond to your questions, and from the information they provide you with, whether you could work with them. If you don't get a good first impression, choose another provider based upon their website to put into your top 3.
3. Are they local?
Do they have an office and staff in your region of Tasmania who understand the local area and have connections with all of the services you might want or need?
Have they got an understanding of the wide range of other services available that you should be able to access if you want under your package?
4. Are they just a name?
Do they offer to come to you, to your house to speak with you? Or do they just talk at you over the phone?
Do they want a referral code from you, and do they push you to sign up?
Ask yourself, how do you think they would respond if you went with them but then needed to make changes to your services?
How easy is it to talk to them?
This is your care, and you should be able to direct your services. So it is okay to ask penetrating questions, to complain if things are not going well and to switch providers if you are not getting the help you need.
5. Do they listen?
If you tell them something, like what you need, do they listen, take that on board, and work with you to find a solution?
Are they willing to change the plan or the services to fit with your needs? Or is their way they do things fixed, and they simply try to convince you their way of doing things is best; that you need to be made to fit into their system?
6. Are they helpful?
When you call, do they offer you good advice and make suggestions about how you can best sift your way and find other services in your area that you might be interested in, or need? Or do they just send you to your GP or back to My Aged Care - or suggest that this is not their job or that they will only help you if and after you sign up with them?
7. Can you use your own support? If you want to use a service or a provider that you've already found or received care from in the past, are they happy for you to 'bring' those services into your home care package? Any support worker or service provider who has an ABN and insurance should in theory be able to move between Approved Providers with you.
Make sure you ask them these sorts of questions, so that you can find out how flexible they are and whether or not you really can choose who provides your services through your package.
8. What do they say about your budget?
A good provider will give you good advice about your budget; they will be happy to spend time working on your budget with you - before you need to consider choosing them or signing up!
They should make suggestions about different ways to organise your services, and show you how this would affect your budget. Check that they tell you exactly what the changes will mean for your budget.
9. What is their fee structure like? Check things like:
do they charge a processing fee if you send in receipts for reimbursement?;
Is their fee all-inclusive or do they bill you every single time you contact them?;
and what do their fees actually include?
Add up the fees you are likely to incur based on your plan, and then compare your top 3 providers. Every provider needs to charge fees in order to afford to provide your home care, but the different rates between providers varies quite considerably.
But do remember, it is not all about the money: you and a good provider should be more focused on your needs and the quality of your care than on the total volume of services you receive. A health professional will be focused on coordinating all of the care and health needs that will make the biggest difference to your health, wellbeing and quality of life.
10. What is their exit policy?
You need to feel free to change providers in the future if you want to or need to. So check that the providers you are considering don't have excessive exit fees or give long notice periods.
Whether you're searching for a good home care provider from Hobart, Launceston or Devonport - or whether you're living in Southport, George Town or Smithton, choose a home care provider that strives to do things differently.
Care Forward is all about moving your health and home care forward in the direction you need or want it to go. Why not think about making the move and moving your home care forward by giving us a call on 1300 364 876 - and see if we can make all the difference for you.