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Reputation “number one risk” for providers


The Elephant in the Room conference on Tuesday

The Elephant in the Room conference on Tuesday

In the consumer-led aged services environment, reputation will “make or break” aged care organisations, a leading management consultant has said.

Reputation will be the “number one risk” aged care operators will have to manage, and this will involve effectively engaging staff, residents and families.

Speaking to aged care providers at the Elephant in the Room conference on the Central Coast on Tuesday, Grant Corderoy, head of the consulting division at Stewart Brown, said consumer directed care would bring many changes, the greatest of which was a “change in philosophy”.

Mr Corderoy highlighted engagement with staff and families, the quality of care, and the perception of the organisation within its local community as key factors that would impact on a provider’s reputation.

The need for providers to undertake comprehensive reviews and to identify potential partnerships was also identified by Mr Corderoy in his wide-ranging presentation on responding to the changing aged care policy landscape.

Specifically he said that providers needed to:

  • fully and accurately understand their unit cost of care
  • manage under- or over-servicing of clients, by getting client plans right
  • adapt and innovate, capitalising on their strengths and assets

On organisational reviews, Mr Corderoy said this should be an ongoing process which examined the provider’s strengths and weaknesses. “Do not restrict the review to strategic matters; look at your systems and processes too,” he said. “Look at who your competitors are, and how do you compete, where your organisation is placed in the marketplace.”

As well as internal reviews, providers needed to survey their communities and continually engage in research to understand trends and demands. “Conduct proper research. From that you decide where you need to go, what are the opportunities in your area, what partnerships do you need to form, are you responding to community needs?”

Mr Corderoy said providers needed to adapt and innovate. He highlighted the trend of home care packages being delivered to seniors living in independent living units. As a result, these providers were not expecting their residential facilities to be full. “It’s a changing paradigm,” he said.

Effective adaption and innovation would require providers to examine how they were utilising their range of services and assets, including areas such as day therapy and wellness centres, their use of ICT, and ways to improve their service delivery.

“What’s relevant now might not be in the future. What the market thought was good 20 years ago has changed now,” he said.

Mr Corderoy said the funding changes coming into effect from 1 July would bring enormous challenges and opportunities for providers. Greater client contributions would also bring greater expectations, he said.

Another characteristic of the changed aged care landscape would be increased competition, Mr Corderoy said, with increased interest in the market from private operators and fund managers.

The Elephant in the Room conference, organised by the Central Coast Aged Care Workforce Innovation Network (WIN), focused on the ageing demographic challenges and possible solutions to keep aged care businesses around the country sustainable in the face of industry-wide pressures.

The event continues today. For updates, follow the #ELE2014 hastag on Twitter.

AAA is the media partner of the Elephant in the Room conference. 

Photo by Essence Images.

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