Home Care

Planning ahead makes things easier. The best time to become an ‘educated consumer’ is not when you are in crisis, but when you can take your time learning about options and gathering information for future reference.

In this section, you will learn about various community home services that can provide clinical and emotional support to your family.

There are a myriad of services in the community that are focused on serving individuals with chronic and progressive disease and disability in the home. Some of these are available through your local health services and may be means tested. e.g. Home Help, Personal Assistant, Carer. There is no entitlement to this service.

Read more about homecare packages.

The first thing you need to do is think about exactly what services you need. The level of skill for each service varies, as does the cost. A companion or carer is going to be less expensive than a nurse. You need to think about exactly how much help you need and when you will need it…is it a couple of hours a day, morning and evening, or during overnight hours?

The second thing you need to do is decide whether you are going to hire privately, or if you are going to contract with a service agency in the community. Many times this decision is based on financial resources.

Is hiring privately complicated?

If you are hiring a personal carer you need to decide on the qualifications you will expect in an applicant. You will also have to think about who will interview the applicants, where they will be interviewed, and who will oversee paying them.

You will probably need to have someone available to help with the financial responsibilities of being an employer in terms of taxes, etc. It is important that a background check be conducted, and that personal and professional references are checked. If you are hiring someone as a live-in, you will want to address privacy issues for both you and the employee.

When you use an agency, that agency does the hiring and training as well as the record keeping, scheduling, and billing, all of which can take a burden off an overwhelmed family. On the other hand, if you are paying out of pocket, hiring your own personal assistant will almost certainly be less expensive than going through an agency.