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Comparing providers – how to break down your options

When you are provided with so many choices and options for home care and nursing home providers, it can be hard to know who to choose or what you should be thinking about when choosing an aged care service.

Last updated: August 16th 2022
Looking for a home care or aged care provider can be difficult, but it can be easier if you know how to break down your options. [Source: iStock]

Looking for a home care or aged care provider can be difficult, but it can be easier if you know how to break down your options. [Source: iStock]

Key points:

  • You should have an understanding of what you are looking for in a home care provider or an aged care home before starting your search
  • Creating a pros and cons list of providers can help shorten the list of home care services or aged care homes you are choosing between
  • Using the search engine can help you compare and find providers

The services delivered by home care providers can differ between organisations and some aged care homes may offer more amenities than others.

Searching for a home care service or aged care home can be overwhelming and it is important to know how to compare the different providers you will be considering.

What to compare

You should be comparing a number of different areas, services and offerings from the providers you are looking at.

It can be ideal to understand what you actually want from a home care service or aged care home beforehand, as it is easier to shorten your list of providers to choose from.

Your current lifestyle and how you want aged care services to work for you can make a big difference in the delivery of care or what services or homes you choose.

Things you should consider include:

  • Personal preferences and requirements such as the level of care you require and any lifestyle options you’re looking for.
  • What features are important to you? For example, are you looking for specific services, a cultural environment or sensitivities, or a facility that allows you to bring your pet?
  • How do you want services to help you remain independent in your own home?
  • Consider where you would like to live. Do you want to stay in the community you’re currently living in or do you want to live closer to family or friends?
  • If you are looking at aged care, would you prefer to live in a large facility or prefer a smaller boutique-style aged care home?
  • How much are you able to spend? There are a few things to keep in mind when working out the cost for aged care so it’s best to get advice from an aged care financial advisor who can look at your personal circumstances and provide you with tailored advice.

Once you have determined what you are looking for you can start searching for providers that fit your needs and are close to you or where you want to live.

Shortening your provider list

Creating a pros and cons list of providers, including what services they provide, can help you break down your list of options.

Take time to research a potential provider by:

  • Going on a facility tour to see the nursing home you are considering or go and speak to a potential home care service in their office
  • Look up their website and social media pages, and see if there are online reviews from residents/consumers and their families
  • Do an online search to see if there have been any news reports mentioning the home or provider you’re considering
  • Have a look into their quality certifications and if the provider has won any industry awards showing expertise in aged care delivery
  • How much does your provider generally charge for services? Does this fit within your own budget?
  • What rules or regulations does the provider have in place for their residents or consumers? Would this impact you, the care your receive, or result in extra fees if you decide to leave?
  • How often does your provider revisit your home care or aged care plan?
  • Check the provider’s history and whether they have any past, or current, sanctions or notices of non-compliance against them. You can either ask the provider directly or use the My Aged Care non-compliance checker where you can search by suburb or provider name.

Researching your providers and sorting out their pros and cons can be really beneficial when searching for services or an aged care home.

For instance, you may have an aged care provider on the pros list for having really spacious and comfortable rooms, but a con is that they don’t have a good outdoor space.

Or in the case of a home care provider, you may find a service that meets all your social or domestic assistance needs, but doesn’t deliver the nursing care that you require.

A pros and cons list can help you sort out what services or homes best fit your personal needs for aged care.

Once you have shortened your list, you can start looking at applying to homes you like or organising home care services.

You can learn more about the application process in our article, ‘How to apply for a nursing home‘, or to organise your home care services you can learn more about that process in our article, ‘Understanding your home care agreement‘.

Where to search for providers

You can use the Aged Care Guide online directory to search for home care services or nursing homes in your area that provide accommodation and services you need.

The individual profile pages will give you more details about the home you are considering.

Underneath the contact details, you have the option to ‘compare profile’. Clicking this option will add it to a shortlist of up to five profiles showing you the different features and types of care for each home care service or aged care home side by side to help with your decision-making.

At the bottom of each profile, you can also see reviews about these providers from people sharing their stories of how they experienced their interaction with the provider.

You can search for a home care service or nursing home on

A printed edition of the Aged Care Guide for your State or Territory can also assist when comparing the services for each provider or home. You can ask your aged care assessor or local council for a copy or call 1800 186 688 to order.

What is important to you when considering aged care options? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Understanding aged care homes
Life in an aged care home
How to find an aged care home on
Finding a home care provider on


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