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How can a Case Manager help me?

Last Updated at September 19th 2016
It is possible to remain living in your own home with a little bit of help. However, with so many services available, it can be challenging to know where to start and which one to use.

Key points:

  • A case manager can simplify your Home Care Package services or in home and community care services and make sure you are receiving the right care that suits your needs

  • Case managers oversee your care, liaise with service providers, and advocate on your behalf

  • If you want to engage a private case manager, you won't need to wait to receive their services or be put on a waiting list

Older woman talking with her case manager
A case manager can help develop and implement individualised care plans. [Source: Shutterstock]

This is where case managers fit in. Case managers, also known as care managers or care coordinators, will work with you and your family or carer to develop and implement individualised care plans best suited to your needs.

If you are eligible for Government funded services, a case manager may be assigned through your service provider as part of your Home Care Package or home care services.

However, if you have complex and multiple needs and you’re looking at different care options, or you would prefer not to use a Government funded package, you may choose to use the services of a private case manager.

An integrated approach to your supports

Your case manager will get to know you, find out your wishes and goals, and organise the personal, allied or health services that will best meet your care needs.

A case manager's aim is to assist you throughout your whole home care service journey, and provide an integrated approach of any supports that help you stay living at home independently for longer.

A case manager will:

  • Undertake ongoing assessments of your health and care needs to ensure you are receiving appropriate care and monitoring if the care is being successful

  • Liaise with service providers, medical and allied health professionals

  • Organise services, personal care and appointments on your behalf

  • Negotiate with legal and advocate groups to ensure your rights are protected while receiving aged care services

  • Provide education around aged care so you, your family and carers understand how the Australian system works

  • Keep yourself, family and carers informed of your progress

Since your care is being monitored by your case manager, if they believe a service isn't getting the desired results or is not making any improvement, they will discuss this with you and may suggest to find an alternative service that might better aid your care.

It's important to explain to your case manager about what is and isn't working for you. For example, if you are really struggling with social engagement, your case manager can organise a service that may encourage community involvement and social inclusion.

You employ case managers according to your needs. For example, you might want a case manager for a short-term period or as an ongoing support.

While you, the client, will mainly be assisted by your case manager, they also will provide support to your carer or family.

Additionally, if you have any concerns about the care and services you receive, you know exactly who to contact about the issue to get it fixed.

When do I use a private case manager?

Private case managers provide support and coordinate your care to ensure your needs are met. 

You may choose to use a private case manager if you have little or no support from elsewhere, or you want to take the pressure off family members or other loved ones trying to organise your care. 

Waiting periods for private case management, if any, are greatly reduced compared to some Government-subsidised packages, seen by some as an advantage.

If you are returning home from hospital or recovering from an illness, you may also prefer to use the services of a private case manager.

In some cases, such as if a person is cognitively impaired, the public trustee may assign a private care manager to organise an individual’s care.

How do I get started?

Private case management services can be initiated by yourself as the user, by family members or carers. You don't need a Government aged care assessment to engage a private case manager, however, they may have their own assessment process to determine your care needs..

As with selecting any private service provider, do your research and ask lots of questions. These could include:

  • How will they manage your supports?

  • What types of services are provided?

  • Can they give an example of cases with similar care needs they have successfully managed?

  • What is the hourly rate and how will you be billed?

  • What additional costs will you have to pay?

  • How will they communicate with you, or your family or carers and how often?

  • Who will your case manager be?

  • What is the complaints procedure if you are not satisfied with the service?

You want to be sure you get value for money, have confidence in your case manager and receive relevant quality services delivered in a timely way.

How much does it cost?

A case manager can be assigned to you by a provider, and in that case the fees are covered in your Home Care Package or home care service budget.

The service of a private case management is not Government subsidised in any way, so you will be charged for all services provided.

Hourly rates vary between private case management organisations so always ask for a breakdown of costs before employing them. Generally, an invoice for all care services purchased on your behalf will be provided to you each month.

Many case managers offer no lock in contracts, meaning care can be arranged for one, several or many ongoing visits, and you only pay for what you use.

Since February 2017, you can manage your own budget for Government funded home care services, and choose how and who delivers your care. You may decide to manage your own care rather than use a provider’s case manager.

Do you want a case manager to assist with your home care services or would you prefer to self manage your own care? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

How can a placement consultant assist me?
What a financial advisor can do for you
What is a Home Care Package (HCP)?

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