home care update

The competition in your home care market has just increased…significantly

During March 2017 the Commonwealth will assign over 11,300 home care packages to eligible consumers. These are the home care packages that were unoccupied on February 27 2017 and those that have fallen vacant since that time. The Commonwealth will continue to make packages available as they fall vacant.

Prospective recipients will be assigned a package based their relative need and time they have be waiting. Once assigned a package consumers then need to choose an Approved Provider.

This create a consumer focused market in which businesses compete for custom. The level of choice for consumers is overwhelming. In most cases, especially for those requiring a low care package, it will be their first interaction with funded aged care services. They will need to contact a provider directly and provide their ‘unique referral code’; alternatively they can request MyAgedCare to send an electronic referral on their behalf.

Home care – a very competitive environment

The traditional protected environment in which home care providers previously operated is no more. The changing market conditions combined with the ageing population have created significant growth opportunities for existing providers and have attracted new providers.  In 2015-6 the Commonwealth received 202 Applications to become an Approved Provider of one or more type of care; this increased from the 135 applications received in 2014-5. Existing Approved Providers of an aged care service e.g. residential aged care can apply to have their approval extended to the provision of home care.

  Number of providers listed on MyAgedCare

22 March 2017

No. Approved home care Providers in the planning region 30 June 2016
  Level 2 Level 4
Doncaster (metro Melbourne) 100 100 34
Bondi (metro Sydney) 87 85 30
Bendigo (regional Victoria) 58 58 13
Wagga Wagga (regional NSW) 37 36 21

Home care – what consumers value

The Ideal Consultancy undertook an online survey of 1,000+ current and prospective aged care consumers. This is what they valued:

  • The most highly valued element was having a phone call returned on the same day; 82% of respondents considered this important and 40% considered this ‘extremely important’.
  • Keeping additional expenses to a minimum was considered important by 80% of respondents; 38% considered this ‘extremely important’.
  • Consistency of staff members was considered important by 79% of respondents and considered extremely important by 39% of respondents.

Perceptions of the types of support that can be provided varied. Respondents emphasized the importance of assistance with household maintenance over assistance with maintaining health and well-being or support for socialization.

Ideal has identified the three essential key elements to thrive in an increasingly competitive, consumer driven environment in which consumers, where able, will be expected to contribute to the care costs. This demonstrates that a sustained multifaceted approach is required.

Home care – creating a competitive advantage

local engagement

Communication and engagement with the community within which the Home Care program operates is pivotal to achieving sustained competitive advantage as this enabled positive word of mouth, recognition of brand and engagement with community nursing programs, GPs and other health care practitioners who are both referers and positive influencers on decision making. Being able to clearly articulate the benefits of the Home Care program was an essential element in an effective local engagement strategy.

Market presence

Prospective consumers need to have access about your organisation and the service you are offering.

Consumers now have access to information via the myagedcare.gov.au website. Similarly a number of service finder portals are emerging and many have the opportunity to ‘click’ through to an organisation’s website. It is important therefore to make sure your website is up to date. Information should be provided to the consumer in plain English (avoid jargon and avoid “form frenzy”). Ensure that there is a quality control mechanism in place.

Marketing collateral needs to be developed specifically for your program and must be current.

Provide clear information on fees and charges or the outline process for obtaining this information.

Marketing collateral should be professionally produced and be in a language and format accessible to a prospective consumer and their family.

Consumer focus

A consumer focused and welcoming sales experience includes the ability to:

  • demonstrate value (what’s in it for me? Why would I choose you?)
  • provide information in a suitable format and at the right time to enable informed decision making by a prospective consumer and their family.
  • understand the relative strengths and overall competitive position in your market.
  • be efficient in managing the process form initial enquiry by a prospective consumer or initial approach by the provider to a prospective consumer to implementation of a package
  • a well-managed waitlist will enable a vacancy to be filled quickly
  • developing a sales process needs to focus on the client’s needs and how they will be addressed

The key to success
Marketing your home care services is much more than learning “sales techniques.”

To be effective a whole of organisation approach to sales and marketing is required. Contact us if you would like a tailored approach specific to your requirements, one that will stand the test of time.

1300 1769 675

Here is a PDF of this article.