Self-managing a home care package – what does it entail?6 min read
Are you considering a self-managed Home Care Package (HCP)? People who choose to self-manage their home care package have a chance to maintain choice and control as they enter aged care for the first time. Managing your own HCP comes with a lot of responsibility and it’s a lot of work. Find out if a self-managed HCP is the right choice for you.
Things to consider about self-managed HCPs
A self-managed HCP can result in lower management fees and provide more control over the services in your package. The rates for self-managed packages can be lower because there’s less work for the provider to do.
For those who are not computer savvy or experienced with budgets, the undertaking can be daunting. If you don’t have experience with the rules and regulations of Home Care Packages, or are unfamiliar with the aged care industry, you also have a learning curve to overcome.
According to Brightwater at Home Service Leader Fern Raynham, self-managed packages require older people to design and monitor all aspects of their care plan.
“They have to navigate what services they want, work out how their budget is best spent, and monitor the flow of funds,” Fern said.
“Unfortunately, people who self-manage their Home Care Package miss out on a lot of advice and discussion with a case manager who can help them do everything they need.”
Common problems with self-managed HCPs
Navigating the Australian aged care system can be tricky. Case managers are available at an hourly rate to answer questions and provide guidance, a service that’s included in provider-managed HCP.
“You can spend a lot of your money in case management fees trying to work these things out for yourself,” Fern said.
“If you struggle to communicate over the phone to find different suppliers to work for you, that can be difficult.
“People also struggle if they’ve never worked with budgets before.”
Misconceptions of self-managed home care packages
All HCPs, both self-managed and provider-managed, must comply with Aged Care Quality Standards which are set out in law by the Australian Government.
“People who are new to the system sometimes believe they can spend their HCP budget on whatever they like, and they can’t,” Fern said.
“Things like air conditioning and replacing carpets are excluded items on the Home Care Package.
Another misconception about self-managed packages is you have complete autonomy to make decisions about your services. Some case manager services are required to ensure your package is being administered properly.
“You’re still governed by certain regulations and rules around providers,” Fern said.
“We need to make sure the provider is registered, is trained properly, is professional, and has all the right liability insurances and the right police checks.
“The providers are responsible for ensuring the care you are receiving meets the legislation and aged care quality standards.”
Advantages to provider-managed HCPs
Using provider-managed care ensures you will always be compliant with aged care guidelines. You also get the benefit of having a dedicated case manager who has vast experience with HCPs and can anticipate your on-going care needs even before you do.
“You have expert advice available to you almost 24 hours a day at no extra charge,” Fern said.
“It can have a direct impact on the outcomes you want to achieve by getting onto a package.
“Having a case manager is like having a champion on the side to guide you, give advice, and do the hard work for you navigating the aged care system.”
One thing to consider is that all HCPs are consumer directed care. People with provider-managed HCPs have the right to make changes to their package when they want.