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Self-managed home care packages vs provider managed

Starts At 60: What You Should Know Before Opting To Self-Manage Your Home Care

You, or perhaps your lovely partner or parent, are active and in touch with the world but maybe you have a health issue that means you could do with a bit of regular assistance at home or just need some help while recuperating. 

If you’re comfortable with technology and used to managing your own activities – from home maintenance to healthcare appointments – you might be considering self-managed home care as a solution.

What it really takes to self-manage your own care

The cost reductions and personal control offered by self-managed home care are countered by some serious considerations that shouldn’t deter you if you’re confident you can cope with them, but don’t suit all home care users. These considerations include:

It helps to be tech-savvy if you want to self-manage care. 

Most self-management host platforms require you to set up and manage your care through an online account, and many care workers will expect you to communicate with them online, either via the platform or one-to-one.

“Scheduling your own care can be quite difficult if you’re using multiple platforms and agencies,” Jasmine Pyyvaara, the senior program manager for aged care and disability at Prestige Inhome Care says. “It might suit someone who’s very confident with online systems and scheduling tools or people with family who can help them do that – but that’s not the case for everyone.”

You must stick to strict requirements on how you self-manage care. 

How HCPs are administered is subject to legislation, so you must ensure that you complete the required paperwork, which can range from documenting your own care needs and updating your care plan if your circumstances change to checking care workers’ timesheets and approving their invoices.

You must also be careful to spend your HCP funding only on services and purchases that are permitted by the legislation and are in line with your care plan.

If you choose to use more than one host platform to access the full range of services you need, this can mean your administrative requirements become more complex, especially if you have a Level 3 or 4 HCP that gives you access to a wider range of allied health professionals, each operating on different terms.

“Different platforms and care providers will each use their own system, which means the admin work differs slightly with each,”  Pyyvaara explains. “And with so many options within the guidelines for how you get your clinical needs met, particularly at Levels 3 and 4, it can be really confusing to know that you’re spending your funds on approved services.”

You should be comfortable with numbers if self-managing care. 

Pyyvaara notes that self-managing care requires you to “monitor your expenses and track your HCP budget, including how much funding you have each day, how much you’ve spent and how much is left”.

“You also have to advise your host platform or provider of any changes in your circumstance that could affect your home care package funding or the nature of your care management requirements and let them know if you can’t complete the expected self-management tasks,” she adds.

If this sounds like more work than you want to take on, she suggests considering whether a home care provider such as Prestige Inhome Care, which gives its clients control over their own care, while making sure clients’ paperwork and legal requirements are covered, might be a viable alternative to self-managed care.

“Our clients are still in total control of how their funds are spent and how they’re delivered, we just take the admin away so they can concentrate on their health and wellbeing and, really, living how they want to live,” Pyyvaara says.

“It’s a full-time job staying alive!”

Wendy Carmichael, diagnosed with multiple myeloma at just 59, went on to develop a crippling range of related conditions in her 60s, including full renal failure that requires dialysis three times a week, chronic exhaustion, severe arthritis, fractures of the spine and heart issues.

Having been approved for a HCP at a Level 3, Wendy considered self-managing her funding package.

“I was worried about not having enough say on the services,” she says. “When you’ve been living by yourself for a long time, you become very independent and get used to doing things the way you want them done!

“But it’s a full-time job staying alive for me. I have enough on my plate just with my medical appointments, so I decided I didn’t want to manage even more paperwork and appointments.”

Instead, Wendy chose Prestige Inhome Care to manage her HCP, in part because of Prestige Inhome Care’s reasonable fees, but she has found other advantages to working with the company, including the fact she’s very much in control of her own care.

“I don’t feel like I’m being dominated by my case manager or my carers; I have input and they listen to me!” Wendy explains. “I was recently upgraded to a level four home care package and my case manager came around to my house to discuss what would be the most useful ways for me to use the money. If I need something or there’s a change in my schedule, I ring her and she gets it for me or re-organises any people I’ve got coming to my house.

“I get a very straightforward statement once a month where I can see my funding coming in, what it has been spent on and the balance left over – and I don’t want for anything.”

If you are thinking about home care options, or you are thinking about switching to from self-managed home care to provider-managed home care, contact our team today on  1300 10 30 10 to discuss possible solutions for you and your family or arrange an obligation-free consultation. 

Read the full article on Starts at 60 here