We’re talking about personal care. For many people with a home care package or access to NDIS, personal care is a daily ritual that requires some extra help. Even if you don’t need personal care assistance - you want to choose who comes into your home as a support worker in any role.
Having a choice is great but knowing where to start and choosing your support worker can quickly become overwhelming. Regardless of where you are on your self-managing journey, you will know that this is one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your care.
Some key concerns that people with a care package often raise are:
- safety - how do you know the support worker is trustworthy?
- reliability - how do you know if they will turn up on time and complete the tasks required?
- understanding - what if they don’t understand your requirements?
As overwhelming as things can feel, especially in the beginning, there are options for you to make this decision with less stress and more control. One of our recent blog posts provides a great reference point on the different options available to you to find your perfect support worker. We’ll be focusing on one of those options; using a ‘specialised online platform’ or a ‘care portal’.
A whole raft of online platforms have risen to popularity since self-management has become more commonplace. Each platform will show or connect you with support workers in your geographical area, assisting you in finding the most suitable person for your needs.
Why would you choose to use a platform to find a support worker?
- Choose who sees you naked. We have used this pertinent quote from Human Rights Advocate and Executive of one of the largest of these care platforms. She wanted to demonstrate that ultimately you want to make sure you’re comfortable with the support workers that come into your home. You can be picky! You may want someone with specific language skills, with experience in certain health conditions or with a common lived experience like someone with a disability or someone from the LGBTI community.
- They’ve got your interests at heart. These platforms generally provide more impartial advice than aged care organisations. Their main objective is to provide you with the most appropriate worker compared to Home Care Providers who have a vested interest in employing their own support workers - this isn’t to say many of these workers aren’t excellent.
- The worker has been verified to some extent. If it’s not clear from the information available on their website check with the online platform to understand their specific verifications and checks. Workers will need a police check and insurance at a minimum.
- Many platforms offer transparency by providing easy ways to give feedback and reviews. Just like checking or giving reviews for restaurants online, in many cases you will be able to see and give reviews for the care you receive.
- You can choose someone you already know. Do you have a neighbour, cleaner, family friend, friend from church or another community group that could be a good carer or support worker for you? Many people choose to employ someone they already know as a support worker. The most efficient option is to get them to sign up to one of these online platforms to simplify the verification, legal and payment processes.
- The legal aspects of employment are covered. Going down this route means that there is a formalised way to employ the person you choose, you don’t need to mess around with contracts and insurance.
- There is an easy payment system set up. There are no awkward conversations about how to pay and when, this will be a smooth process provided by the platform you choose.
Even as someone who is self-managing - you are never alone. Your home care provider will be able to support you through this process or if any issues arise with your support workers. This may be included in the existing fees that they charge you or they may charge you an hourly fee to provide this assistance.
Advocacy services are also available to you at any time, whether it be a concern with your support worker or another issue regarding your care. OPAN - the Older Persons Advocacy Network is a great starting point for any issues that arise; 1800 700 600.