Aged Care is rarely at the top of anyone’s list of things to find out about until he or she or their loved one actually needs it. Unfortunately, this need often arises after a short period of health decline, a loss of a loved one, or a traumatic event, which creates a crisis in the ability of the individual to manage all day-to-day tasks unassisted. At a time of great distress, the aged care system can be confusing, confronting and jargon ridden, information which can make it all too hard for seniors to access services that truly meet their needs in a manner suitable to them.
Many providers will bombard you with information on their point of difference, their fees and a long list of services they provide using terms that are unfamiliar to most.
So where do you begin?
It’s important that before you meet with any service provider you ask yourself what is most important to you, is it cost, quality, reliability, relationship or ease of access. All these things will differ between providers and when presented with information, being clear on what is important will allow you to cut through the maze of information and choose the home care provider that best fits with you or your loved ones requirements.
While it is tempting to start at fees, like everything in life, what seems like a bargain may not be and paying a little extra may get you a better service in the long run. However, that does not mean that the more expensive providers have the best quality of service, often the higher fees are to pay for the higher running costs of large organisations.
When talking to providers about fees and charges ensure that you receive all their fees, as the basic fee may be an attractive proposition however the addition of surcharges for travel or petrol and penalty rates for staff may end up with a much higher fee than you first anticipated.
Cancellation fees and terms and conditions of ‘packaged’ offers need to be closely looked at before you commit. As with any contract, always read the small print.
Quality of service can be hard to measure and the idea of quality differs from person to person. One person may be delighted with the standard of cleaning one company achieves while for another person it may not meet their standard.
For some the person supporting them or their loved one must be a health professional, while for others, this may not be as important.Some questions you may want to ask yourself regarding quality are:
- Is it important that the staff have any qualifications in caring?
- Is receiving the same staff member regularly important?
- Is the person supporting you to make decisions on what care will best support you and making recommendations a health professional with knowledge of the ageing process and management of complex health needs?
- Are the staff who deliver the care well trained and supported?
- Reliability and Customer Service
Reliability is important for most people. There are few things more frustrating than waiting in all day for someone to arrive and they don’t turn up, or they turn up later than expected. You may wish to ask the provider how they ensure that staff arrives on time and how they communicate with you if there is an issue with the agreed time. Also, if a staff member is unable to attend, what is the back up?
How easy is it to contact the office and speak with someone?
A question few people ask about but huge influencing factor of good service provision is the ability to build lasting and meaningful relationships with staff. If the staff getting to know you, the family and building a trusting friendship is important, then you need to know the providers view on this. Some providers do not allow their staff to share personal information about their family or pets, yet clients normally love to hear about the grandkids, weddings etc. Some providers may also change your staff member regularly, for fear of you creating dependence on a particular staff member. This creates distress and prevents clients building trust. Being able to build a relationship between the client and staff member ensures that little changes to the clients’ mood, abilities and general wellbeing can be picked up and supported.
To find out more about how we can assist you to meet all you, or your loved care and companionship needs call PCCC on 08 9276 1520