Home care packages - confused choosing a provider?

In-home care got a big boost in the latest budget and now elderly clients are free to choose and manage their own government-subsidised care. But choosing the right provider isn’t easy.

There are dozens of organisations operating in my mum’s area of Queensland. Many charge extremely high admin fees, including entry and exit fees. And it’s tough finding any reviews of them online. My mum and I have no idea which provider to choose for her.

Have you been in a similar position choosing a provider for yourself or a relative? I’d love to hear your experiences - not just to help my mum, but as a potential investigation for CHOICE, too.


Have been through several different care providers in NSW as Mum progressed from level 2 to level 4 care packages. Our experience has been that the larger organizations have been better than the smaller ones because they can offer more services, such as physio, regular visits from a registered nurse, and more staff flexibility. Mum has been with Baptist Care for over a year now and I would recommend them based on our experience to date.


My mum used three home care package providers over a 4 year period - Baptist Care, Anglicare and Home Instead. As with all service providers (aged care and everything else), there is a wide range of employees, some of whom are much more intuitive, committed, diligent and hard working than others. Apart from the practical assistance, the carers’ individual personalities are important to consider as companionship is often a crucial part of their role. The right carer can be like gold - for both the recipient and their family. In our experience, there were frequent and often last minute staffing changes with Baptist Care and Anglicare which was not ideal. Home Instead, on the other hand, provided consistency and also Mum could request specific carers which was fantastic as they got to know each other well. At the time Mum had her Anglicare package, she was able to exercise her choice under Consumer Directed Care, and request her known carers from Home Instead be used to provide her care as part of her home care package (sort of like Anglicare subcontracting out to Home Instead). This is something that was very beneficial for Mum and at the time, was not widely advertised - so you really need to do your homework to understand what’s possible. Great topic for Choice to report on!


At my mother’s assessment, a range of different services were agreed to, It eventuated that for each service a different provider was sent out. Not sure why, she wasn’t consulted about it.

They don’t seem to take into account the amount of paperwork each provider requires from the client. Multiply that by the number of individual providers. Then think about the unnecessary duplication. CRAZY stupid when you are dealing with older people who may be losing their abilities, and already under stress from the changes they are going through.

My mother decided that this was not for her, and she would prefer to have one provider for all her in-home services. She settled on Blue Care because they covered all her needs. Blue Care are a large organisation and can cover any staff absences with alternate staff. Of the staff that I have met, they all seem to be caring and considerate. The staff are certainly not in it for the money :slight_smile:

Having one provider has meant that a single staff member can provide multiple service while here. It also makes it easier for my mother to manage appointments and what’s going on. It also means that a relationship is developed between the staff and my mother. They then get to know what/how she wants things done. Ergo, more time is spent on actually delivering services.


My Father in Law (FiL) gets in home care through BlueCare. Mostly it is for physio, shopping and cleaning. There are always co-payments, these are paid via invoice from BlueCare.

The physio is fine. Cleaning is fine and the lady also does clothes washing if the FiL leaves any to be done.

Shopping is the biggest issue with the Shoppers changing a bit, I think in 12 months he has had about 6 or 7 different ones, some have only done 1 shop others last about 3 months. The reason for the frequent changes are not clearly explained. As he is blind, has mobility problems and is very deaf we have to create a shopping list each week, this can create problems with changing staff as we have to be very clear exactly what product he wants if it is a new shopping assistant, and if a product isn’t available exactly what alternative/s can be purchased. For instance today we had to return the coffee that was purchased as the new shopper did not realise the difference between Bushmills and Bushells, they didn’t get the correct size tins of baked beans, they didn’t get his kind of biscuits (he prefers Gaiety over the similar homebrand ones) as they chose the cheaper homebrand ones. The honesty of his helpers has been impeccable and BlueCare obviously conduct thorough assessments before employing them.


“As he is blind, has mobility problems and is very deaf we have to create a shopping list each week”

I was just wondering whether you might be able to take advantage of the online grocery shopping services now available. I know you can now order Woolworths groceries online and have them delivered directly to you, I assume Coles offers the same. This would ensure the right groceries were chosen and you can save the shopping list online through their portal and modify, depending on your weekly requirements? I’m sure they could cater for disability delivery into the home itself. I know a lot of elderly/disabled use this service in my area,


He is stubborn and refuses to use the Home Delivery option which we have tried unsuccessfully several times to get him to use. It would make things so much simpler for us all. Thank you for thinking of it for us though, it was very considerate of you.


Yes, I have stubborn relatives as well, who ask for help and then refuse to take up the best solution due to old fashioned habit. It’s a shame, with so many useful services provided today to make everybody’s life easier. I think if you can gently coax through the stubbornness and just do it anyway, they quickly can see the advantages and get over the initial reluctance.

My father hated computers and wouldn’t go online at all, so was missing out on the world and all it offers through this medium. When I pointed out that most toddlers use iPads so I’m sure he could learn, it was just enough to pique his interest/pride into getting an iPad. He’s 100% happier now and doesn’t know what he used to do before the purchase; the world has opened up for him and he’s totally enjoying himself.

I’d say just insist, to at least give it a try once or twice. Or he can eat dodgy biscuits, his choice.


I use Woolworths order on line service too, where you can pick exactly what you want. They usually get the order right…we don’t have the delivery service where I live, but pickup is quick and easy.

A problem with service delivery in country areas is that there is usually no choice, or very little, of providers. And having to deal with My Aged Care is a nightmare!


I access Disability Support Workers through an agency with NDIS funding (and before that with a mix of Victorian ISP and personal funds). If CHOICE is doing an investigation into Aged Care agencies, I think there’s an opportunity to do one on DSW agencies too, particularly as the NDIS rolls out. I expect most agencies cater to both markets and the advice may be broadly similar.


There is good and bad to that. As in the USA moving toward ‘user manages’ opens the door to more and more for-proit businesses soliciting the elderly, adding to confusion and the government of the day being able to absolve itself of responsibility for quality of care although there should be (but rarely is) funded vigorous oversight with real penalties.


I couldn’t agree more. In our case it’s just creating more confusion and now that I’m seeing these admin and entry/exit fees, I can’t help but think a lot of taxpayers’ money is going to end up as profit for businesses rather than helping the people it’s intended for.


Hi ebaulch

As this is an older thread, I assume that you’ve probably long since moved on.

However, I was a full time primary carer for three years here in Victoria, looking after my mother who had dementia. So, yes, I have had personal experience with home care packages but, obviously, only in this State.

The basic golden rule is to work out exactly what your mother really needs in terms of help. Then shop around to find the cheapest options and ensure that you don’t end up spending money that you don’t have to spend. So, local councils and other community based organizations such as the RDNS should be your first option. Using private businesses as your home care providers should always be the last resort.

We did have a package for the first six months or so. But, the thing is that most of the “package people” don’t personally provide any of the actual caring services themselves. They’re strictly co-ordinators who give you advice and put you in touch with the service delivery people. And that can be quite useful when you’re just starting out and you don’t know where or how to access any of this help. However, you’ll quickly learn your way around the community aged car sector and be able to line up your own help. That’s what I did. As I became more familiar with the market, I eventually decided to go it alone and simply find my own, independently sourced service providers that we used and paid for on a strictly “'as needed” basis. No more monthly “package fees” . And we saved a lot of money doing it that way.

As you mentioned, there can be a great deal of duplication of services and you end up paying for things that you don’t want and never use.

Frankly, the whole system is being rorted in some ways. Aged care is now a big business and some providers just spend all day referring oldsters and their carers to places that they don’t need to be going to … and certainly don’t need to be paying for.

But, there are still quite a few excellent government funding schemes, payments and concessions available that help elderly people and their carers with care related expenses. Get all the financial assistance that your mother is entitled to and then find your own service providers in your local area who participate in these government funded schemes. There are (or, at least were) all sorts of programs such as free or low cost dental care, hearing aid specialists, podiatry schemes etc.

It’s worth checking out the information that you can find via these links …


Good luck with all of it


For now perhaps a good place to consider how things have or haven’t improved.

With one of the family now in an Aged Care Facility, it has been a steep learning curve. One question that those supporting the Aged Care facilitation process avoided has been answered.

Aussies in the Aged Care system or over 65 years of age are not eligible to join the NDIS. If your living at home care needs increase there is limited direct support. The response if you cannot fund your extra needs of Aged Care is to move you into managed care.

Aged Care Services and the NDIS are different. Do both treat the aged who have disabilities and those with disabilities who have aged equal and fairly?
What should some one who reaches 65 and is on the NDIS consider in services as best?
Why is the cutoff age 65 when retiring age is now on a sliding scale past 65?


Absolutely disgraceful. Talk about age discrimmination.

Perhaps we should revisit these two dot points?

The outcome of the boost appears to have gone only to improving the profits of the providers.

Is choosing the right provider now ‘Mission Impossible’?

We went around the loop of home care vs aged care for our mum at the start of this year. After nearly one month of research we took the second option. We had outworn the welcome of NSW public health who were either going to discharge her or place her themselves to aged care. The blunt advice was that the system was taking up to 12 months or longer to deliver. We had first hand experience related by a close family member with both parents in home care. Also the advice of two neighbours (Experienced nurses) who had each been caring in home for a single parent prior to moving to aged care.

Neither system delivers the quality any loving family member might consider acceptable. I’ll leave the politics of minimisation of government costs and poor regulation to another topic. In home care, the better option in that it maintains family unfortunately fails, financially, and for the personal burden it places on the immediate family.

We can also compare outcomes to those of another family friend who received a significant compensation payment after a motor vehicle accident, pre NDIS! It takes a lot of energy from his partner, however it is amazing just how far the money has gone when it has been paid directly rather than through a ‘profit making system’.

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Regional Australia, aged - blind pensioner transitioning from Commonwealth Home Care Support to Home Care Packege level2. Family lives 8000 km away.

I read it all, today is 8 of Agust. I need some advice. I am at present receiving services under the Commonwealth Home Care Support grant from a local provider. I am on Aged pension, no other income or assets. In the last five years I contributed about $150.00 every months to the provider. Only recently I found out, that the grant was sufficient, and my payment to the provider was not required from other people who were in a much better finincial position.

About two years ago I was considered for Home Care Package, and it was allocated on 18 May. I am legally blind, not driving, and there is no public trasport where I live. I know, that I have the option of self manage my package. Contacted 3 providers, my present provider, and a different one who accepts self management. Eventuallly the two providers came up with the same solution, that I would have to pay $300.00 each months to receive servives I need and what I am receiving under the Commonwealth Home Care Support. I raised the question of cartell, I also questioned if I was made to overpay. The provider’s answer was to cut othe services off,. It happened two days ago. I am receiving support from Advocare, it is substantial and helpful. My Aged Care is also very helpful. With their help I contacted the Aged care safety and quality Commission, and filed two feedbacks to the provider’s CEO. It is time consuming and punitive. Please comment.

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