When it comes to home care for the elderly, members of the McEwen team have walked in your shoes. We’ve learnt that not all home care service providers are the same. We also realise that how well you capitalise on your HCP depends on how well you understand the way things work.
Here, we share some of our key learnings to help you get the most out of your HCP.
A good case manager makes a world of difference.
Once you choose a home care service provider, they’ll allocate a case manager to you. This person becomes your central contact point. They will partner with you to create your care plan, and they will oversee the delivery of services to you. It’s really important to have a good connection with this person. Is your case manager approachable and friendly? Do they show empathy? Are they a good communicator?
If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. Your case manager needs to be someone who thinks outside the square, and really puts your needs front and centre, rather than just presenting a “here’s one we baked earlier” style of care package.
Work on building a strong relationship with your case manager – good communication is key. Make sure this is someone you feel you can speak with honestly, someone who not only listens, but hears. And if you don’t think the person fits the bill, you need to speak up or revisit your options
A trusted support person is invaluable
Don’t be afraid to involve a support person in all your HCP communications and meetings. Often this is a close relative or friend. This is especially important for any ACAT assessments, and conversations with your case manager around needs and possible solutions. Your support person can provide a second set of ears, or help voice your thoughts, or simply be part of the conversation. They can help you prepare for meetings, or unravel issues which might seem complicated. Adopt a ‘team’ approach to get the best out your HCP, where your team includes you, your case manager and your support person.
Have a think about what you’d like to get out of the process
Sometimes we ‘don’t know what we don’t know’. It’s hard to know what questions to ask. Have you ever walked out of a medical consultation, wishing that you’d asked more questions? Sometimes, we need to process what we hear, to work out what we still don’t know. Help yourself here by:
- Including your support person.
- Seeking clarity on what to expect before meetings take place – what is the purpose of the meeting? what information will be required?
- Considering what you want to know or ask at the meeting.
And if you think of questions later on, don’t be afraid to get in touch with your case manager.
Think laterally when identifying your needs
What does ‘home care’ mean to you?
For many of us, we think it’s about support with household chores and personal care. Home care is this, and much more. Home care includes services and support tools which enable you to enjoy life, get out and about, be active and social, and generally keep your household ticking over.
Do you love seeing your friends at your weekly Mah-jong games but need help getting to the venue? Maybe you can incorporate assisted transport into your package. Do you have trouble getting yourself up off the bed in the morning? Perhaps you can use some of your package towards a mechanical bed. Think beyond assistance with personal care, meals and medication. Let your care objectives take front and centre when choosing what services will make the difference for you.
Be sure you understand the billing
Ask to see a monthly statement – is it easy to understand? Complicated statements make it difficult to understand just how your package money is being spent, how much you have contributed, and how much is left in the kitty.
Some home care providers ‘bundle’ their service fees. Bundled billing makes it harder to see how much you’re paying, and for what.
Home care services provided under a HCP are GST-free, and the provider claims back the GST from the ATO each month. Check that GST is not deducted, as this is against government published guidelines.
Case management and admin fees are not regulated currently, but typically range from 15% and 45%. Be sure you’re comfortable that you’re getting value for money.
Remember, under the consumer-directed care model, you decide who delivers your services, and what those services should look like. You’re not locked in to any service provider. If things aren’t working out, you may wish to reassess your options.
If you need help navigating the aged care system, give us a call, and speak with an accredited McEwen aged care adviser.
This content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview of the subject matter covered. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute advice. We attempt to ensure that the content is current but we do not guarantee its currency. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.