Home care packages
Recent changes in aged care now give more choice to older consumers who wish to remain in their own home for longer.
All home care packages funded by the Australian Government are now provided directly to consumers rather than allocated to a provider. This funding model is known as Consumer Directed Care. It allows you more flexibility, including the right to choose and change home care providers
When you buy goods or services you have rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). These rights are the same whether buying home care goods or services directly, or receiving them under a government-funded home care package.
You also have rights and responsibilities under the Australian Government’s aged care laws.
Under these laws you have the right to:
- choose your own home care provider
- take your time and ask questions to make sure the agreement is right for you
- not be pressured
- honest and accurate information
- have services delivered on time and with care
- receive goods that are of acceptable quality (safe and durable).
Choosing your provider
Before signing up for home care, make sure you take the time to do research and find the best care for you.
Door-to-door and telephone selling
Home care packages should not normally be sold by a door-to-door salesperson or over the phone, but it’s important to know your rights if you are approached unexpectedly by a provider.
Door-to-door sellers must obey clear rules around:
- the hours they can visit you
- disclosure (what they need to say)
- written agreements
- cooling off periods.
Never sign anything on the spot. It is against the law for a business or provider to pressure you.
Door-to-door salespeople must leave if you ask them to and must not approach any home that displays a do-not-knock sticker. You can order a free sticker.
Read more about door-to-door and telephone selling.
Understand your agreement
Your home care agreement is a contract that sets out the terms of your service. Make sure your agreement outlines:
- who is providing your service
- how much the services will cost, including exit payments
- the process to end an agreement or transfer to a new provider.
Never sign anything you don’t understand. You can get help from an advocate, legal adviser, or a family member.
Unfair contract terms in standard form contracts
If the contracts being used to provide home care services are standard form contracts, the ACL prohibits them including unfair terms.
A standard form contract or agreement should be a balance of rights and obligations on you and the provider. A standard form contract is ‘unfair’ if it gives more rights to a provider than you, and is not necessary to protect the provider.
Read more about signing contracts.
If you feel there is a term in your contract that is ‘unfair’, speak to your provider. If you can’t resolve the issue with them, you can lodge a complaint with us.
Sometimes there may be a problem with goods or services you have received.
Services must be:
- provided with due care and skill
- fit for a specific purpose
- finished within a reasonable time.
When you purchase goods or services in Australia, you have automatic rights called consumer guarantees.
You have the right to ask the provider to fix the problem if these guarantees are not met. This might be a refund or cancellation or for services to be done again.
More information and help
Older Persons Advocacy Network
OPAN provides free, independent and confidential advocacy services to older people.
Aged Care Complaints
If you have any concerns about aged care services to you or someone you know.
My Aged Care
For more information about accessing a home care package or finding a provider.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
The ACCC has produced 2 consumer guides to help you understand your rights when receiving home care:
- Home care – know your consumer rights is a short flyer which is available online or you can order a hard copy. It is also available to download in a range of different languages.
- Home care – a guide to consumer rights is a more detailed online guide for consumers.
The ACCC’s website SCAMwatch provides information on common scams and how to recognise them.