A new service has been launched in Australia to protect consumers of the country’s $20 billion aged and home care sectors. CareAbout provides advice, advocacy, comparison and selection from providers. Its mission is to create meaningful change for people accessing home and aged care through specialist advisers, clear comparisons of services and fees.

The number of providers in the home care sector has almost doubled to about 800 across Australia over the last 18 months, while there are more than 2,000 in aged care, creating myriad of choices for consumers. According to a recent CoreData White Paper, Australia’s aged care sector will grow 24 per cent over the next five years.

Its home care sector has also seen radical changes in recent years, with more than 100,000 people in the queue to gain access to the four levels of Federal Government funding packages for home care.

The CareAbout service is currently operating in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland, with experts in the field and on the phone to assist consumers seeking help in working their way through what is becoming an increasingly complex range of services and options.

CareAbout provides free advice across a select panel of proven and experienced home care providers or for consumers wanting aged care facilities, advice is via a flat fee and includes all aged care facilities.

“We are now providing a much needed service for consumers navigating their way through the expanding maze of government schemes, providers and aged care homes to choose from,” says     executive director Kyra-Bae Snell, who co-founded CareAbout with iSelect’s Damien Waller.

“The growth of both the home care and aged care sector has led to many new and inexperienced providers entering the space, presenting challenges for consumers who are often stressed in the best care for themselves or their loved ones. Often consumers aren’t even aware that they have choice,” says Snell.

“Making the wrong decision can cost consumers thousands of dollars and in many cases we have saved $100,000 for our customers, negotiating lower rates on entry to an aged care facility”, she says.

Snell also believes there needs to be greater transparency around provider fees and charges, particularly in the home care sector.

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