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8 Questions to Ask a Home Care Package Provider

A Home Care Package (HCP) is one of the ways that older Australians can get access to affordable aged care services at home. There are 4 levels of Home Care Packages – from Level 1 for basic care needs to Level 4 for high care needs. The program supports people with higher care needs than the Commonwealth Home Support Programme can accommodate for.

The Australian Government ensures that the program uses a consumer-directed care approach to make sure the support suits the person’s needs and goals. This also means that Home Care Package recipients can change providers at any time if they are looking for better quality of care and value.

My Care Solution recommends that clients and families interview at least 3 different Home Care Package providers before making a decision about their care. The wait time between the approval for a Package and the assignment of a Package is the ideal time slot for such a task.

However, it can be difficult to know what questions to ask. We have listed 10 important questions to help you through the interview process. At the end of the blog, you will find a link to download our free interview checklist.

1. What is your home care package management fee per fortnight?

Package management is the ongoing organisation activities associated with ensuring the smooth delivery and management of a Home Care Package. It is deducted on a fortnightly basis from your Home Care Package subsidy, and varies according to the level of support you have been assessed for.

It may include the costs for preparing monthly statements, managing package funds, and compliance and quality assurance activities required for home care.

Package management fees vary greatly between Home Care Package providers. Our downloadable fee comparison shows the difference between providers in Adelaide and Victor Harbor.

2. What is your care management fee per fortnight?

Care management includes all the activities associated with coordinating your care and support such as creating a comprehensive care plan, arranging a budget, checking in with you as you receive your support and undertaking regular care reviews. Like the package management fee, it is deducted from your Home Care Package subsidy.

When considering the fees of a potential Home Care Package provider, it is essential to combine the package management fee and care management fee to understand how much will be deducted from your subsidy every fortnight.

3. Will you charge me the basic daily fee?

You may be expected to contribute a basic daily fee to the cost of your Home Care Package. The basic daily fee may be up to $10.75, even if you’re a full age pensioner. However, the basic daily fee is an optional fee – not a mandatory one. Ask your provider is they are willing to waive the basic daily fee for you.

4. Are there any other fees that I should be aware of?

Many Home Care Package providers in Adelaide and Victor Harbor withdraw a variety of fees from their Home Care Package clients. It is important to ask your potential provider what fees they charge and why they charge them.

For example, many providers charge a staff travel fee for every visit – a fee that covers their staff’s kilometres of travel to get to your home. What happens if your caregiver is travelling over 30 kilometres to get to your home? You may be charged up to $30.00 extra every visit, or as seen in our downloadable fee comparison, some providers may charge up to $51.70 extra every visit.

Providers may also charge other fees such as a monthly invoice fee for printing and sending your invoice, or a fee for talking to you on the phone.

5. What is your exit policy?

You can switch providers at any time, however, some providers have strict exit policies and fees in place. Ask your provider what their exit policy is and whether or not they charge an exit fee. Some providers may require up to one months’ notice and a $300 exit fee deducted from your Home Care Package.

6. Will I have my own care coordinator?

Not much compares to the ease and reliability of having your own, dedicated Client Care Coordinator. Someone who can manage every aspect of your care and support and talk to you when you need them most.

Ask your potential Home Care Package provider if you have a dedicated coordinator that can support you through your home care journey. If the provider does offer this service, ask if this incurs any additional fees.

7. How do you screen and train your staff?

It is vital to ask your potential Home Care Package provider how their staff are screened and trained. Do they have National Police Clearances? How many reference checks are completed before they are employed? Does the provider offer ongoing training and professional development?

8. Do you have your own care staff, or do you use agencies and sub-contractors?

Many Home Care Package providers use agency staff and contractors to deliver care services to their clients. If you decide to choose a provider with this model of care, it is important to ask what safeguards the provider has in place to ensure the quality of the care that is provided. We also recommend asking how the agency workers and contractors have been screened and trained.

If you’re considering Home Care Providers, it is critical to keep these questions in mind to make sure you’re choosing a Home Care Package provider that’s the right fit for you. Download our free Home Care Package interview checklist and use this to guide your interviews with potential Home Care Package providers.

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