GOOD SUPPORT: An Envigor home carer with a client, one of 700 people looked after by the service throughout Queensland.
GOOD SUPPORT: An Envigor home carer with a client, one of 700 people looked after by the service throughout Queensland.

Beware of hidden costs with home care

AS BABY Boomers age and become frail, care groups are being set up to help people stay in their own homes.

It's recognised as cheaper for the government and better for the person to be in their own home environment, rather than in a nursing home.

Envigor Home Care executive manager Tracey Silvester says that goal is becoming increasingly achievable, particularly if the person has good family support.

"We've got a lady we're looking after who's 98 and living alone," she said.

That lady is one of more than 700 clients looked after by Envigor throughout Queensland, with 200 care staff employed.

Tracey is an expert on the new government program Consumer Directed Care and urges people to beware of "hidden fees" within the system.

She says it can be confusing for people.

"At the moment, there's two funding programs with home care," she said.

"At Envigor, CDC is working well. We did a lot of education and information sessions for consumers, who are a group not well informed.

"You're talking about people who are vulnerable and frail and fear upsetting the applecart.

"Some have no idea where their money's going.

"We think as much of their money as possible should go to care.

"We keep our admin costs down to 10%."

The program requires providers to be a lot more transparent with consumers than in the past.

"We're trying to be honest and ethical in how we deal with people," Tracey said.

"Clients are meant to be getting a monthly statement from their provider.

"Now is a great time for consumers and their families to be closely examining their statements and to fully understand how their package funds are being spent.

"If they aren't sure what a description means or it seems they have received a service but can't remember what that service was, then they should ask for clarification.

"Older people need to get a fair go."

If clients are not happy with their current provider, they can either move their entire package to a new provider, or ask their current provider to contract their service provision to another provider.

Should clients still be unhappy with the outcome offered by their home care provider, a government-run aged care complaints service exists to help care recipients take control of where their money is going.

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