In a world where you can order groceries on a screen, home appliances can be controlled by apps and anyone with a smartphone can be a taxi driver, it was only a matter of time before the home care industry followed suit.
While traditional home care providers might be rigid in the types of care they offer, innovative companies such as Mable are reinventing the way older Australians get some help at home and giving them more bang for their buck in the process.
In fact, Mable is so far ahead, it has set the future direction for home care in Australia; a user-friendly online system, flexible services and fees that are in both the consumer and the support worker’s favour. And that creates a great dynamic for the carer and the consumer, as Heather Waldron, who helps her mother Melva, 87, coordinate services through Mable, has found.
“The support workers we have found on the Mable platform have been wonderful,” Heather says, “Mum loves them coming and they’re all are fond of Mum and find their own style and interests to enhance her day.”
(Mable calls the people who offer services on its online platform ‘support workers’ because they cover a huge range of services, from home maintenance, light chores and gardening to personal care and dementia and disability.)
The concept is simple. Mable isn’t a home care provider – it’s an online marketplace for support services. You search Mable for independent support workers in your community, view their profiles, then choose the people who best suit your needs.
From here, you can call or meet the support workers to decide if they’re the right person for you. You also have the option to post jobs on the Mable site, at which point support workers can respond to your job ad. Once you’ve selected a support worker, you communicate with them to agree on services, rates and times. It’s that easy.
This process of selecting individuals to provide exactly the services you want, when you want them, is called self-managed care. You can read more about self-managed care here. Mable founder and CEO Peter Scutt says that the most important point of self-managed care is that it puts the client in control to live the independent lifestyle that they choose.
On Mable, every one of the 5,600 support workers – ranging from carers to cleaners, nurses to physiotherapists – are subject to a careful vetting process.
“You directly select who supports you and the type of help you need, safe in the assurance that the proper police and qualification checks have been done,” Peter says. “Independent workers also get to choose who they support, when and what they charge, ensuring a long-term relationship is forged.”
Unlike large, traditional home care providers, Mable doesn’t bundle hidden charges into an ‘administration fee’ (which can be as high as 45 per cent of your total home care package at some providers!) on top of the fees you pay for your services.
Instead, with Mable you simply pay the rate you agreed with your support worker, plus a 5 per cent service fee for making use of the Mable marketplace
Peter explains that Mable users typically pay a service fee of about $6, rather than as much as $33 with well-known home care providers – meaning you get many more hours of support from your home care package or your private funds than you’d normally receive.
Mable explains the numbers above using a straightforward example. Using the prices all home care providers must post on the My Aged Care website, Mable has calculated that the common hourly cost of care from a traditional provider is about $58.
That $58 includes a a fee of between $24-$33 – again, numbers drawn from the My Aged Care site – which the consumer usually sees as an administration fee on their invoice. The support worker, meanwhile, is paid between $25-$34 an hour.
On the other hand, individual support workers on Mable charge about $40 per hour of care. Add Mable’s 5 per cent charge and the consumer pays $42 an hour. The worker also pays Mable 10 per cent of their agreed hourly charge, which leaves them with $36 an hour.
In short, everyone wins!
Another big plus is that there’s no random rostering as dictated by the home care provider, which is something that Heather says her mother Melva has found the most rewarding thing about using Mable.
Rather than having unfamiliar carers regularly turning up to her home, Melva and Heather work together to choose support workers who control their own timetable so can accommodate Melva’s requirements at times that suit her.
“When we need a carer, I just look through the profiles and send an email with information about what we are looking for,” Heather explains.
“I then sort through them and contact the ones we think would suit Mum. We like being able to find what and who we want ourselves. Mum reads the profiles and is involved in the whole process. This is helpful I think, as it gives her a sense of ownership and control.
“We find it is helpful to see what the carers like doing and try to work with their gifts. That way, the worker who loves cooking is doing that and the one who prefers to take Mum for a walk does that. And it’s good for families to be accommodating and thoughtful with the carers.
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Mable is an online platform where you choose and schedule the care or support that's right for you. Start searching the profiles of over 5,600 workers.