Home care uncut – a true story

17 Sep 2018 1:09 PMJen Fitzgerald
Home care uncut – a true story

A recent discussion, with the relative of a home care client, reveals how the home care system can work against the elderly.


A recent discussion, with the relative of a home care client, reveals how the home care system can work against the elderly. The elderly client has 4 hours a week of domestic assistance (light cleaning) and social or shopping support.

This client is very fortunate she has a daughter who will ring the service provider office with complaints - nearly every week. Workers that take 15 minutes to make a bed, who use the wrong mop that makes the floor slippery and who don’t complete all the allocated tasks.

She spoke of workers who asked the client if she wanted certain tasks done. The client is a very polite lady who will say “don’t trouble yourself over cleaning xyz” so it doesn’t get done. In fact, the worker is there to do all the tasks that are on the support plan. The client is paying good money for these services and lazy workers are taking advantage of the client’s polite nature

Many home care clients have no one to act as a voice for them so they put up with poor service. However, even though clients can move service providers relatively easily clients will stay put so they don’t rock the boat.

Home care is such an intimate workplace that workers should be more respectful and mindful but lazy workers will take advantage of this. The absence of supervision is a factor. The high demand for home care staff is another as providers struggle to find workers and so clients have different workers through their home.

The turnover of staff is the number one complaint by clients, according to a service provider’s annual feedback. The clients would like to see a familiar face every week but rosters, staff and clients’ needs are ever-changing, so regular workers for a client, are a rare event.

The NDIS maze for home care

Essentially home care clients are their own case managers and fund managers through the NDIS. This is not always practical for some older people or their relatives. The NDIS is complex to manage, according to the relative in the original story, and many sources say the same thing.


This article links to Care opinion where consumers can put up their opinions of home care and residential services. Like a TripAdvisor for the aged care industry. Care opinion website https://www.careopinion.org.au/info/professionals

Finally, there is an advocacy service for Older people which may be helpful in navigating the NDIS. Phone 1800 700 600.