I have been approved for a home care package, but how do I choose a provider and what if I want to switch?

So you have been approved for a home care package. Congratulations! This government funded program can provide you with the assistance you need to remain independent and live safely in your home.

However, the process of getting started can be confusing and overwhelming. Which provider should you choose, how to get the most out of your package, and what happens if you change your mind later?

Here\’s what you need to know.

Read more: Explainer: What is a Home Care Package and who is eligible?

What does a supplier do?

A provider provides Australian Government subsidized aged care services such as nursing, personal care, home maintenance, meal preparation and transport as part of a home care package.

Your provider can help you with decision making, managing package financing, and dealing with any fees or charges you may have to pay.

Your choice of provider will be limited to those serving your area, their staffing levels, and possible waiting lists for different types of service. My Aged Cares Find a Provider can provide more information about providers near you.

Are there waiting periods?


There may be a delay between receiving approval for a home care package and when one becomes available. This will be the same regardless of your choice of service provider.

Occasionally, the service provider will be fully booked and unable to start the desired services as soon as the package is started.

The only way to know is to ask the service provider directly.

How does the provider work?

Suppliers all work differently.

Some use case managers and assign you staff members to provide consistency and familiarity. Others can be organized centrally and several operators could participate whenever such a service is needed.

Some may arrive at the same time every week or day. Others may come on different days each week.

Think about what is important to you and what your expectations are before discussing your care with a service provider.

Choosing a vendor can be overwhelming.

What fees does the provider charge?

Supplier rates vary widely. Rate plans are posted on the My Aged Care website or can be obtained from your service provider, but it is still sometimes quite difficult to compare.

If you can, try to compare:

  • administration expenses
  • care management costs
  • service delivery charges (e.g. do they charge per hour or per block of 15 minutes?)
  • travel costs (for example, do they charge per kilometer driven or a flat rate?)
  • in-house or third-party services (for example, do they use their own nurses or do they outsource them to another company that provides this care?)

Writing them down or creating a spreadsheet can help with comparisons.

What services do I get?

You can choose how funds from your home care package are spent, as long as they are largely spent on healthcare.

This choice can be daunting, but try to think about which services best meet your care goals. Consider which services will best meet your long-term goal of staying healthy at home. The assessment completed prior to your approval is a good starting point for identifying gaps in your care.

Ask yourself: what will help me live at home longer?

Discuss your options with the family.

Can I arrange services other than what the supplier provides?

YES. However, they may not be covered by your home care package.

Suppose you already have a trusted doctor and want to continue to receive his care. You can discuss brokerage through your service provider.

If you have run out of funds from your home care package, you still have the option to pay privately. This will not affect your home care package.

Likewise, you\’re still eligible to receive Medicare discounts, chronic disease management plans, and government-subsidized prescriptions while on a home care package.

Can I review my package over time?

YES. You should review your package regularly to make sure it still meets your needs.

Your mix of services may need to be changed, or you may find you need more funding. If you\’ve been assigned a case manager, they can help you find the best options.

Think about the services you might be able to access outside your package and what informal care might be available. This can take the pressure off your pack.

If your support needs are still not being met, you may be eligible to request an upgraded package, which you can discuss with your provider at any time.

Many providers offer personal grooming as part of their service listings.

What if I want to change operator?

First, think about what issue you have with the current vendor, whether you\’re comfortable discussing your concerns with them, and whether switching will resolve the issue.

If you decide to change, it will cost you nothing. You must give two to four weeks notice for the package transfer and you will usually need to contact My Aged Care to reactivate the code for the new provider yourself.

Remember that there may be waiting periods with the new provider and their fee structure may be different. Be sure to check your new provider\’s details carefully to make sure they can help you stay healthy at home.

Read more: Yes, older Australians need more funding for home care. But these dribs and drabs only make a dent in the waiting list

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