If you require help around the home but aren't eligible or don’t want to wait for Government funded aged care services, then private home care may be for you
Private home care doesn’t mean it’s more expensive, it can be more cost effective than some Government funded services
It can be a good option to cover what you need quickly for a short amount of time
Maybe this is more cost effective for you or there is a waitlist for the Government service you are trying to access.
Or maybe you were assessed by My Aged Care and found not eligible for a Government funded aged care service.
What is private home care?
Private home care services are services that you pay for out of your own pocket. They are arranged directly between you and the service provider. You only pay for the services provided and there is no Government subsidy. This also means there is no waitlist or Government involvement.
Private home care organisations provide a wide variety of services including Registered Nurses for complex care needs, domestic assistance, like personal care, housekeeping, cooking and outings as well as carers for companionship. They may also provide other support staff such as advisors, assistants, dietitians, drivers, personal trainers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
There is no limit to the number of hours of care provided each week and you can generally increase or decrease the time as your requirements change. With an agreed notice period, you are not required to pay for shifts you do not require.
How is private home care different?
Private aged care is different from funded aged care services purely through the lack of Government involvement in both funding and regulation.
Because you are not receiving a subsidy for private home care, you don't need to worry about a Government assessment. There is generally no waitlist to access support through a private provider, so help you require at home can begin right away.
You will be required to pay the full cost the provider has offered, or you have agreed upon with the provider, and cannot receive any home care related subsidies through the Government.
While private home care may seem expensive, you may find that it is more cost effective than other institutional alternatives.
Additionally, some providers that are Government funded may also provide some of their services privately for clients to purchase. This means that you can ‘top-up’ the Government funded services with additional help funded by you if needed.
If you are already receiving a Home Care Package (HCP) through the Government, private home care can provide some extra hours of help which you may not be covered for in your HCP.
Private home care can be a good option if you require short-term care and returning home from hospital or recovering from a surgery, or can even provide some respite to your carer.
If you require a higher level of home care, private home care can even provide live in or 24 hour care.
Questions to ask a private home care provider
There is a wide variety in the level of quality and cost of home care companies. Make sure you do your research and ask lots of questions.
When considering private home care services here are some things to investigate:
Do they service your area?
Is the company Australian owned?
Is it independent or part of a franchise?
Do the owners/ operators have experience in home care?
Does the company have appropriate insurance?
Does the company comply with Australian Tax Law. For example, does it charge GST appropriately?
Do they provide documents about financial arrangements before service begins?
Do they have a Service Agreement? It is important to have so that there’s no misunderstanding about the service and cost to be provided.
Are they flexible? After all, it is all about you.
What are their recruitment processes?
Is there a criminal background check performed prior to employment with an agency?
Does the company provide worker’s compensation for employees? This means you are not responsible for any injuries that occur on the job.
How do they determine appropriate staff for your needs? If a company asks where you live then offers you staff before even hearing about your needs, you can be reasonably assured they allocate services based on location as a priority.
Is it possible to interview potential carers and make a selection after those interviews?
Do you get to decide what times and days suit your needs?
What is the minimum shift length?
Do they have male/female workers and can they cater for specific cultural backgrounds?
Who will be working in the home? Will there be regular staff providing continuity of care or do they change shifts around?
Is there a professional staff member, such as a Registered Nurse, that provides a plan to meet the needs of the client?
Who is the organisation’s main contact for you?
Do you meet a Manager/ Owner and then never hear from them again?
What additional support is offered within the cost of your care? For example, are they available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Visit AgedCareGuide.com.au to search for home care providers near you.
What benefits do you see from utilising private home care? Tell us in the comments below.