Take a look at some common questions and answers about switching home care providers:
Can I change home care providers?
Yes, you can absolutely change home care providers.
You are free to change home care providers at any time to suit your needs or the needs of your loved one.
Why do people change home care providers?
There are many valid reasons to change home care providers:
- Financial: You might find the provider you are with doesn’t align with your budget, and another provider may better suit your financial needs.
- Personal: There is a chance you or your loved one simply don’t click with the carers, nurses or administrative staff from your current home care package provider.
- Geographic: If you or your loved one are moving to an area your current home care provider does not cover, you will need to take the right steps to change service provider.
- Practical: While the majority of Australian home care providers are very high quality, they are not all created equal. If your current home care provider is not fulfilling all your needs or those of your loved one, it is worth pursuing alternate avenues.
Whatever the reason, you are entitled to move to a new home care provider at any time.
How to change home care providers
When you have decided to change your home care provider, your current provider is required to help you make the switch.
The process of finding a new home care provider is the same as when you selected your first provider. You can head to the My Aged Care website for assistance or Aged Care Decisions can assist you with a customised report of your home care provider options. Our service is 100% free for families.
We work with the largest selection of home care providers across Australia – big and small – to make sure you have choice and control. Our services provide access to transparent information & pricing to make a hassle-free decision with no stress – all for free.
Find out more here: https://get.agedcaredecisions.com.au/find-home-care-options.
Looking for aged care?
Get a customised list of aged care options
When you have selected a new home care provider, you need to:
- Provide your new provider with your referral code and agree to a commencement date
- Negotiate a cessation date with your current provider
The cessation date is the date that your current provider stops providing care. Aim to have as little a gap between the cessation date and the day your new provider starts sending home care workers to your home.
How do you end your agreement with your current home care provider?
To end your home care package, let your provider know your intentions to leave. It’s best to put your request in writing. An email will work, or you can send a written letter.
It is also best to give some sort of notice to allow for arrangements. Most providers will want 14 days’ notice before you change to another organisation. However, it is recommended that you check your paperwork; some providers require as much as four weeks’ notice.
Will I need to pay an exit amount when changing home-aged care providers?
There are usually no exit fees when you leave your home care package provider. You are free to leave at any time, providing it fits with the agreement you signed at the commencement of your service.
In the rare case that your provider charges an exit fee, this fee will be taken from your unspent funds. Even in this case, though, you won’t be personally out of pocket. If your unspent funds are insufficient to cover the exit fee, then you don’t have to pay. Home care providers are not allowed to require you to pay out of your own pocket.
What happens to any unspent home care funds?
Your current provider must transfer all your unspent home care funds to your new service provider.
Your new home care package provider should receive the unspent funds within 70 days of the date of the cessation. If that does not happen for some reason, they will contact you, negotiate with your previous provider, and help you file a complaint if necessary.
What are the four levels of home care packages?
Home care packages come in four different levels, which reflect the level of care needed by the recipient:
- Level 1: At the lowest level, you or your loved one will have basic needs covered with a few visits a week by carers.
- Level 2: Level two provides a slightly higher level of care with more frequent visits.
- Level 3: The third level is the first for clients with higher needs. At this level, carers will visit most days of the week and will provide high levels of support.
- Level 4: The highest level provides for elderly Australians with high-level needs. At this level, carers will visit seven days a week and will take care of almost everything.
You will find more information about the four levels of home care packages here: https://agedcaredecisions.com.au/home-care-package-guidelines/.
Can you change a care plan?
You or your loved one are not locked into one level of care because it is understood that needs change over time.
All home care packages should be regularly reviewed to confirm whether it might be necessary to increase the level of care for the recipient. Speak to your home care services provider if you feel you or your loved one requires a higher level of support.
What do home care packages provide?
Home care packages assist to cover the cost of services that help senior Australians to stay living at home and experience a good quality of life. Depending on the package you or your loved one are entitled to, available services include:
- Bathing, hygiene, and grooming
- Nursing and medical care
- Podiatry, physiotherapy, and other therapies
- Meals and food preparation
- Help with impairments or continence
- Cleaning, laundry, and other chores
- Home or garden maintenance.
- Changes to the home such as stair lifts or bathroom safety rails
- Aids to stay independent
- Social outings, groups and visitors
Do I need to find a new home care provider before I leave my current one?
It isn’t necessary to have a new provider before you leave your current provider, although it is recommended.
If you end your relationship with your aged home care provider before you have another one lined up, you or your loved one risk experiencing a period without care.
If I was receiving home care prior to 1 July 2014, will my fee arrangements be affected if I change providers?
On 1 July 2014, the way fees are worked out for Home Care Packages and aged care homes changed in Australia.
If you received a Home Care Package before 1 July 2014, the new fee arrangements that started on 1 July 2014 should not apply to you. You will keep paying the fees you already pay.
If you enter into a new Home Care Agreement with a new provider within 28 days, you should be able to maintain your existing fee structure.
However, if you take more than 28 days to sign on with a new provider, you will need to comply with the fee arrangements that came into effect on 1 July 2014.
Is home care the only choice for seniors in Australia?
While home care is an excellent choice for many Australians, it is not the only option.
Many senior Australians prefer to transition into a residential aged care facility when they no longer feel comfortable living on their own. These facilities can provide far more comprehensive care and support than home care packages and they have a welcoming, community feel along with regular activities and excursions.
Aged care is an important and necessary service, but it’s crucial that the right decisions are made when it comes to choosing a facility for your loved one.
Aged Care Decisions provides assistance to families at every stage of the aged care or home care journey. We work with over 1200 facilities and assist over 6000 families every month, 100% free of charge for families.