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Self-managed home care packages: what you need to know

Self-managed home care packages: what you need to know

What you need to know about self-managed Home Care Packages

Should you self-manage your Home Care Package?

When you were researching home care, you may have come across the option of self-managed Home Care Packages. This means you or your family manage your package yourself, so you have more autonomy to choose where your funds are spent.

However, you might be confused as to what that actually means and how much support you will get. We spoke to Five Good Friends Self-Managed Home Care Package Team Leader Dominique Domingues about what self-management is all about and how you know whether it’s right for you.

What’s the difference between care managed and self-managed Home Care Packages?

The main differences between the two models is that with a self-managed membership, you have more choice and control on how your funding is spent, a shared authority to decide on purchases, a process of directly paying for your services or products and more involvement with choosing the people you want in your home.

Dominique explains:

“With our care managed model, we've got a dedicated care team which comprises of a Care Coordinator, Care Specialist and Workforce Coordinator. The Workforce Coordinator will work directly with you to establish your in-home services through a process called Helper Matching. They will engage in conversations with potential Helpers about rosters, service types, hours, and rates of pay. They also assist with recruiting Helpers to provide services in your home. Once a Helper is found that might be a good match, we’ll introduce that Helper to the Member who will have their initial meet and greet, before visits commence” she explained.

However if you’re self-managing your package, you do all that yourself.

“Using the Lookout app, you go through a whole match request process. You input the service type that you want including the frequency and a little bit about you and the support you require. Our system will then generate five candidates that best match your criteria for you to review.

“You can start having those conversations firsthand with the helpers, setting up visits, negotiating rates of pay, and planning out your own schedule. You have full choice and control over the rostering and the scheduling,” she explained.

However, with Five Good Friends, you’re certainly not alone. Not only does the Lookout app make it easy but we have a dedicated customer service team you can call if you need help.

“We’ve also got our Care Navigators that can assist with complex or clinical queries, planning for Home Care Package upgrades, annual reviews and updating your Help Plan when your care needs change” Dominique said.

What are the similarities between care managed and self-managed Home Care Packages?

In terms of the care you’re receiving, it’s completely the same whether you’re care managed or self-managed. You still receive a dynamic help plan which is a living document that captures your services, goals and assessed care needs.

"You also have the benefit of the Lookout system and the remote care monitoring feature,” Dominique explained.

“Anytime a service is completed with a Helper, they leave a checkout note with details about how the visit went and activities completed during the visit. That information is live and available for us to review straight away. We’ve got a system that uses an algorithm to flag any risks such as if the Member had a fall, if the Member was unwell or if there has been a decline or change in the Members well-being. The remote care monitoring feature enables us to have continual oversight of our Members well-being in the home, to ensure the services they receive are meeting their care needs.” she said.

We also have regular member annual reviews as well as wellbeing check-ins for people who might live alone and have limited or no family support and minimal services in place.

“For our Members who live alone, we add them into a lives alone cohort. As part of our lives alone risk management process, every 60 days our system will flag these Members in the lives alone cohort that have minimal services in place. This will prompt a well-being phone call from our Care Navigators to check in with the Member and offer any support from the Home Care Package. All those protocols are very similar to care managed, we don’t lose any of that oversight,” she said.

What are the advantages of self-managing?

When you self-manage your Home Care Package, you pay reduced care management fees. For example, if you’re Level 1, you pay $29 for care management fees, but only $5 a week if you self-manage your package (as of February 2024).

The other advantage is more choice and control.

“You are encouraged to play an active role and be more involved with the organisation of your care and services in line with the Home Care Package Program Manual” Dominique said.

It also means you can bring your own support worker to Five Good Friends if there is someone that you already have a relationship with.

“We have a ‘Bring Your Own Helper’ process in place which supports a Members preferred Helper to join Five Good Friends. It is common for Members to bring their own Helpers so they continue receiving high-quality care from someone they feel comfortable with.” she explained.

What are the disadvantages of self-managing?

When you’re care managed, the process of changing services or requesting something in your package is a bit more casual.

“You might just phone up and request a service or send through an email and your Care Coordinator manages all the administrative work,” Dominique said.

However, making changes with a self-managed membership is a bit more formal. If you want to request a new purchase or service, you’ll have to complete the administrative tasks independently to abide by the requirements.

It means to self-manage, you do need a bit more time to manage your package efficiently and a basic understanding of how the Home Care Package Program operates.

Should you self-manage your package?

If you’re interested in self-managing your package, we have a roles and responsibilities checklist which can help you make an informed decision about whether self-management is right for you.

Some things you need to think about are:

  • Do you have enough time to commit to self-managing your package?
  • Do you have internet access and a smartphone or computer?
  • Do you have basic technology skills such as being able to email, view documents online and use our Five Good Friends Lookout app?
  • Do you understand your rights as a Home Care Package consumer?
  • Plan ahead regarding medical or other conditions that may affect your ability to self-manage

You’re not in this alone. If you need help, our customer service officers team are always available to lend a hand.

It’s also worth noting that you can also self-manage your loved one’s package even if you don’t live near them.

“We've got family that live interstate and overseas that self-manage their parents’ packages in Australia. Communication is done through our Five Good Friend’s shared notebook and over emails. The family members who live overseas might communicate directly with the Helper via text message. It works quite well,” Dominique explained.

If you would like a bit more autonomy and control over your care, self-managing your Home Care Package could be a great option for you. If you’ve got more questions about self-management or would like to give it a go? Please get in touch with our team.

Learn more: How to make the most of your Home Care Package funds

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