interviewing in home aged care providers

Once you and your loved one decide that in-home aged care is the right step to take, you must choose a home care provider. As a consumer, you are entitled to investigate options and select the provider which offers the best staff, care and value for your needs.

Since 1 July 2014, the Australian Government has directed that home care packages should be delivered as part of a Consumer Directed Care program. Therefore, you should undertake an assessment through the Aged Care Assessment Team in order to understand the level of subsidy and type of package you are entitled to. You can use the tool provided by My Aged Care to find Help at Home and Home Care Package Providers in your area.

Be Informed

Once you have a list of suitable providers, it is time to use the lifetime of skills you have gained as a consumer. The Charter of Care Recipients Rights and Responsibilities outlines what you can expect from an in-home carer. Familiarise yourself with the charter and create a list of questions that specifically relate to your situation. Some providers specialise in offering companionship, whereas others have staff who are trained in dementia care. Here are five general key questions which will assist with your decision-making.

  1. Does your agency have someone who can create a care plan and help navigate the CDC system?
    An agency with staff members who are trained to provide care plans and find solutions which fit your needs will help streamline the process. They will be able to interpret the allowable services within your care package and design a plan to suit your situation.

  2. What level of certification or types of training do in-home carers have?
    Levels of training can vary greatly between providers. If you seek an in-home carer for companionship and light household duties, an outgoing, patient personality may be more important than a diploma. However, if you or your loved one have a serious medical condition, you would certainly wish to know that carers are trained in CPR and other basic first response procedures. In-home carers should have the qualifications needed to perform the duties you require.

  3. Will you commit to sending the same carer each time?
    Some agencies have a revolving staff. This can be disconcerting for you or your loved one as trust and companionship are vital components of the in-home care relationship. Sometimes agencies may provide two regular carers. This provides stability in case one carer is sick or leaves the agency.

  4. What evaluation procedures do you use?
    A professional agency will have procedures for evaluating individual staff members and the quality of care you are receiving. A senior staff member may come and observe your carer on a regular basis or you might be asked to provide feedback via questionnaires.

  5. Can I speak to some current clients who have the same needs?
    If an agency is providing quality care, it should be able to put you in touch with two or three similar clients. This means that it is confident in its services and also shows that happy clients are willing to provide references.

Do Your Research

Whilst the process may seem difficult, your extra efforts and research will pay dividends. In the end, your goal is to find an in-home care provider that can tailor a program specifically for you. You deserve to have your needs respected, so do not hesitate to ask questions until you feel comfortable with a particular provider. Your quality of life will improve greatly once you find a suitable provider and appropriate in-home aged care.

Image credit: "Grandma uses her MacBook laptop to check her email" (cropped) by Kimberly B.. (Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic)

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