Are your home care fees too high?

A new government-funded report, Older People Living Well with In-Home Support, by Sarah Russell from Research Matters revealed that some providers are charging high home care fees, leading to many home care package recipients getting less care than they should.

The research report collated the thoughts of 40 current home care recipients and/or their support person. Each participant was interviewed about their experiences with the home care system and what they would change about how their services are delivered.

A key finding of the report was the wide difference in fees and costs across different home care providers. Case management and administration fees varied from just 9 per cent right up to 53 per cent of the package value – demonstrating a huge difference in the funds available for care.

When a large percentage of the home care package funds goes to the provider, the recipient is left receiving less support than they’re entitled to. Some participants were left with less than 10 hours of personal/domestic support on a Level 4 home care package.

Participants described the hours of personal care they received on the different levels of home care packages. On average, these were:

  • 2 hours per week on Level 1 package
  • 3 hours per week on a Level 2 package
  • 8 hours per week on a Level 3 package
  • 14 hours per week on a Level 4 package.

Many providers charged a fixed cost for case management irrespective of how much case management was actually provided and there were also significant differences in hourly rates for support workers – from $39 to $61 per hour on a weekday.

While costs were a major gripe, participants also raised the following concerns:

  • Unable to access reliable information
  • Unclear financial statements
  • Lack of audits
  • Poor quality of some services
  • Poor communication
  • Staffing issues – inadequate training, insufficient numbers of staff, high turnover of both case managers and support workers.
  • Ineffective complaints system

Many of these concerns highlighted the need for a main point of contact who was easy to get in touch with, knew their situation and could tailor care to suit their needs.

Participants also appreciated personal support workers who were well trained, experienced, respectful, empathetic and punctual.

The full report is a timely reminder for everyone researching home care providers or checking how their current provider compares to do their homework to ensure they get the most out of their home care package. This home care provider checklist can help.

How Envigor compares

Envigor doesn’t charge a set percentage for case management and instead charges case management as an hourly rate as required. The ensures you are not needlessly charged for case management that you are not using.

Envigor’s administration fee is set at 10 per cent, leaving more money available for care. There is also negotiable minimum visit times, with appointment times that suit you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Each Envigor business partner is a local in their community and knows the unique needs of all their clients. They are contactable by mobile and available to answer any questions about your care needs and how to make the most of your home care package.

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