Advice For New Home Care Providers
As a new approved provider in the home care sector, it is essential that you understand the key business drivers as they will determine your success in what is becoming an increasingly competitive marketplace. At the very core of this is an appreciation of what your actual costs are and that you establish systems and processes that keep your costs to a minimum until you build up your consumer base.
Most critical will be the decisions you make about the software that will support your growing CDC client base and ensure your compliance with the legislation that applies to the delivery of home care. There is an increasing number of CDC software solutions available and it can be confusing to understand what the best solution is. Any decision on implementing a software solution should be made within the context of a IT Strategy, and it is our experience that for a new entrant into the home care sector that there are options that are affordable, simple in design, brings efficiencies essential for financial viability, and ensures compliance to legislation.
Following are the core systems essential to the efficient provision of CDC compliant home care.
CONSUMER ON-BOARDING SYSTEM
Collects the consumer’s personal details
Facilitates collaboration with the consumer on their Support (i.e. Care) Plan, including their goals
Facilitates collaboration with the consumer on their budget, including income from all sources and expenditure
Home Care Agreement that is CDC compliant and prepared by specialist aged care legal advisors
Support (i.e. Care) Plan that documents the consumer’s support/care needs
Services Schedule that provides a detailed breakdown of the third-party services the consumer will engage (this assists when organising suppliers and provides a framework for maintaining compliance)
Individualised budget, which the consumer must receive and needs to be easy to understand. This will ensure your own financial viability
Consumer on-boarding software will make the sign-up process very efficient by collecting the consumer’s data and generating the required documentation at the initial visit, thereby eliminating duplication of effort typical of manual processes. Hence, investment in this software will provide an immediate return that will exceed the cost by keeping your staffing resources to a minimum.
ROSTERING/SCHEDULING OF CARE WORKERS
As a new home care provider with a small number of consumers, you can initially get by with a MS Excel spreadsheet using a colour coding scheme for different care workers. From our experience, a spreadsheet will suffice until your consumers exceed about 50.
Although this is a manual system, the larger systems available are cost prohibitive for a new entrant into the home care sector and MS Excel can be efficiently used until your consumer numbers increase warranting the investment in a specialised rostering system as part of your overall IT Strategy.
Again, you can use a MS Excel spreadsheet to monitor these services until you reach a larger number of consumers. Managing your suppliers is a critical responsibility that can have a significant influence on your success. There are also compliance obligations that must be met with suppliers which you must ensure you are across such as police checks, insurance, service agreements etc.
Again, this is a manual process utilising MS Excel until your consumer numbers increase enough to justify the investment in a larger system as part of your IT Strategy. Until then, you will need to manually update the spreadsheet as soon as any changes occur to ensure your consumers receive their services when they are expecting them.
MONITORING THE FINANCES
Under the legislation, you must provide the consumer with a monthly statement showing:
Carried forward Unspent Funds
Income – both government funding and the consumer’s contributions
Expenditure – all internal and external service provision
Closing Unspent Funds balance
Your finance system can generate the individualised consumer statements and record the actual funds received from the government and consumer. You are required to keep track of individual consumer funds to refund the balance of the unspent funds when the consumer leaves your service.
If you need advice on how to set up your home care service, or to arrange a demonstration of Care Collaborator – specialist cloud based software developed to complete the on-boarding process at the initial consumer visit – please contact Debra Ward at Care Collaborator via the web page: www.carecollaborator.com.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 0438 020 728.