Once you’ve decided to get a bit of help at home, there are several steps you need to go through before the 'interview' process starts. It isn’t complicated but can take some time, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible.
While each provider is slightly different, here is a general outline of what you can expect to happen:
What you’ll need to do
Book an ACAT assessment
Arranging for an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment should be your very first step, as it can take a while to get. You’ll need to go through this free assessment if you’re after government assistance to help pay for the cost of your home care. Once approved, you’ll find out what your funding package is. With only a limited number of packages released at a time, be prepared to be patient but you can shop around for providers while you wait.
Research your options
With your ACAT application waiting in the wings, there are things you can do in the meantime. You’ll want to research the providers available in your area. We’ve made it easy to search for these on our website. Simply type in your suburb or postcode and select the in-home care option. You can also choose your care needs from a drop-down list (for example, respite care or dementia care, etc.).
Call the provider
Having looked through the search results, call the provider/s you’re interested in to discuss your requirements. Their phone numbers can be found on the individual page listings. By doing your homework and being proactive, you’ll be ready to go once the ACAT funding gets approved. We have a handy list of questions here to help you get the full picture including fees and inclusions.
What the provider will do (the 'interview' process)
Initial phone call
Your initial conversation, with one of the provider's client services members, should mainly be about you. Have the thought "what do you want to do more of, what do you want to do less of and what can't you do" in the back of your head when having a chat about what you would like some help with then go from there. They will then be able to refer you to one of their care team to have a more in depth conversation.
This will hopefully give you enough of an idea about whether that provider has the services to meet your needs and wants and determine if you take the next step with them or if you ring the next provider on your list.
Determine your needs
After the initial phone call/s the provider will either send you some more information, about their services, to read over or a staff member will come by for a more in depth chat (or both if you prefer!).
Finalising your needs
Now that you know what services are available to you, with this particular provider, and they know your preferences, needs and wants, a care manager and/or nurse will come to your home in order for them to do a care assessment. This covers a non invasive medical assessment as well as home environment assessment all with the view to having a safe environment for both yourself and the care workers as well as ensuring your optimal health and care.
Including the assessment, up until this point, all of these services are provided free of charge.
From here you will sign a contract with your chosen provider. It doesn't hurt to make sure you have ticked off these questions and everything is clear one last time before signing the contract as there will be an exit fee for breaking it early. Having a close friend or family member around for any or all of the assessments and meetings is a good way of having a second pair of eyes and ears to catch all of the details.
Match up a carer and client
Now that you have signed a contract with your chosen provider, they will set about finding the right fit for both you and the carer. Probably the most important step! Once the match has been made, the provider will follow-up and stay in close contact during the initial stages to ensure both of you are happy with the arrangement. Some providers have more formal measures, such as client surveys, to keep track of how things are going and carer profiles to actively choose from.
Establish a care plan and budget
Setting up a care plan and budget is then necessary for the provider to be able to allocate the funds. You’ll be kept in the loop by being sent monthly statements which detail expenditure and unspent money.