Q&A with Kim Redin, RN Home Care Coordinator. Making Sure Your Home Care Package Meets Your Needs

Good News! Your home care package is approved and allocated and you are ready to start receiving the services. But what’s next?

Kim is a Registered Nurse and Home Care Coordinator at St Louis Aged Care and discusses the importance of the first meeting with her clients to ensure their home care package will deliver exactly what they need. We interviewed Kim about what she discusses with clients during this first home care meeting.

What is the aim of the initial home care package meeting with your clients to get them started?

“At the first meeting we have a conversation about the client and their needs and what they want to achieve in their daily and weekly routines and how it can be supported by their home care package. These are what we often refer to as your home care goals. Working together we would establish several specific goals to enable the client to feel supported and live the life they want at home.”

We look at the support already in place such as family, friends and support in their community network, this is important so we can integrate the care plan with the existing support structure. We often try to discuss other options in case there are changes in the support network and how we can work together to accommodate this. For example, if a partner is sick or a family member who helps out is on holidays.

We ask our clients the following questions:

  • What sort of things do you enjoy doing most?
  • What support do you need to feel and stay safe at home?
  • Where, how and when do you want home care support?

This enables us to customise their support so they receive the care how and when they want, to meet their home care goals. The benefits of customising your support, for example to include social support can add years to the time you spend living at home and can prevent early entry into residential care.

We also discuss the clinical needs of the client as this is often where the client needs the most help from a coordinator. We give you guidance on how you can make sure you get the most from your home care package.

“Every care and support plan is different… it really depends on the what the client wants and how we can support them.”

We discuss finances, funds they have access to for their services, fees, charges, income tests and the basic daily fee as well as any supplements they may be entitled to. The are supplements for dementia support, oxygen support, or if they are regionally located there is a supplement for rural support.

Also we have a discussion on fee options – if the client needs to pay all of them? What to do if there is financial hardship? What to do if you want more care than the care package offers and you can’t afford it?

Once we review their home care agreement, we leave it with the client to discuss with others and come back to us with questions if they need.

We then organise:

  • A start date and if they are transferring from another service or other health professionals.
  • The referral code we submit to the Department of Health within 56 days.”

What questions do you recommend that your clients come prepared with at this first meeting?

“We encourage them to get as much information as they need at this initial meeting, here are some questions we often get asked:

  • Where is the home care provider located? Where is the office and [person I will talk to? (ie interstate, local?)
  • How do you support my specific needs such as language or cultural needs?
  • Do you provide all the support or do you contract out the support to third party organisations?
  • What are all the costs and any hidden costs I need to know about? For example, explanation of all the fees and what they cover, travel expenses, out of pocket expenses.
  • How do I know that your care workers are qualified to do their job and have had all the relevant checks? “

What are the 5 most important aspects of a home care package?

  • Teamwork - unlike a CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program), a home care package is teamwork - the home care provider and the client work together to manage their care and services.
  • Stay within home care budget - the services we provide in home care package provides meet their goals and stay within the allocated budget.
  • Flexible and adaptable - the home care package is flexible and we can change the services to meet our client’s changing needs.
  • The decisions are in their hands - we cannot change the package unless the client agrees with the changes, so there are no surprises.
  • Works with existing support network – a home care package takes into consideration all the support that is already in place, we are here to work with and supplement the support already in place.”

What concerns do most people have when they start a home care package and how do you help?

“Mostly, in these initial meetings, our clients are concerned with the following:

Impact on their lifestyle – many clients are concerned about the change and how this will impact their lifestyle and privacy.

For example, will they need to wait at home for someone to arrive to help them with the cooking? We create a routine so that our clients know when we are going to be there. If someone wants us to arrive at 8am to help them shower, then we build this into the schedule of services and we do our best to always be there at the allocated time.

We try to create the same schedule and the same carers so that our clients have consistency in their care, with carers they know.

Confusion about how to use their home care package. Some people feel a bit overwhelmed that they have all this funding available and are concerned about making the right decision on how and what to spend their funds on that will enhance their lives. We make sure they know what services can and cannot be included in their package.

Also, we can start with less hours that first month or two and build up from there as we get into a routine with the client. We then review this and add to their care plan to make sure their care support is meeting their home care goals. There is no advantage in accumulating your funds as this may disadvantage you when your care needs increase.

The home care package costs – clients need to know all the costs associated with the homecare package. Any fees and what they cover, out of pocket expenses and ensuring they do not overspend or underspend on their allocated budget.

We have regular discussions about the budget so that our clients always know where they are with regards to the monthly allocation of funds. They receive a statement every month which details all the services they have received and the costs. We know ahead of time if they might use up their allocated finds and may make some slight changes to the services with their permission, so they fit into their budget. Also what they can add to their care plan so they get they get to live the life they want at home.

Change of mind – clients can be concerned that if they change their mind, are the locked onto a contract with us? At St Louis we encourage all clients to complete a compliments and complaints form if there are any concerns. At St Louis any issues with your care should be discussed with your coordinator as soon as possible or at your yearly care review. It is important to know what the cost of changing providers is when you choose your home care provider.

What sort of goals do you help your clients achieve within their home care package?

“Everyone has different goals and we will work with that client’s individual needs. Here are some of the goals we help our clients with today:

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with exercise classes, walks, nutrition advice
  • Achieving independence in mobility, especially after a hospital stay
  • Becoming more socially active and getting out and about
  • Re-engaging with the things they used to like such as lawn bowls, art classes, craft circles, which they have not been able to do because of a lack of transport
  • Bringing different styles of cooking and new recipes into the home and help with shopping for new ingredients
  • Clients who have low vision need help with aids and lighting at home to see and read better
  • Gardening help – some clients need a little extra support with rails in the garden so that they can safely navigate their way around and also to choose and buy plants at the nursery
  • General chores around the house where they may need help to be able to do what they used to do
  • Technology support – for example, we use care app to connect families or our clients with family interstate we can help them with the technology that suits the client and the family.

All goals are measured and reviewed during their care and if they have achieved this is reviewed and new ones created if needed. The entire home care team is aware of our client’s goals so that we are working together to help achieve them – we are powered by CareApp and this helps the team communicate to reach the clients goals.

What if your client starts with a home care level 1 or 2 when they are still waiting on a level 3 or 4 for higher care? How does this work for the client?

Once again every clients and their circumstances is different, that is why it is best to talk to a coordinator. To start with we look at their care and support priorities, family support, community support, additional community resources we can access for the clients, the fees and if there are additional supplements or benefits available, a referral back to My Aged Care for additional CHSP support to supplement the package, or private home care options. We will work with you to meet your goals until a higher level package becomes available. It really depends on the care support you need to live the life you want at home.

Call St Louis Home Care today to get started with your home care package

The St Louis home care team is available in Adelaide on 8332 0950 or Victor Harbor on 8552 1481 to answer your questions about what a home care package can provide. We look forward to your call!

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