As residential providers look to adopt consumer directed care, a community care executive says engaging with seniors about what they want and value can be most beneficial.
Last week a key report into an Australian-first program to implement CDC in residential care found it improved resident wellbeing.
The report said that while the government is expected to mandate CDC for aged care facilities in the “very near future” the sector is currently without the necessary implementation strategies, approaches and costings (read that story here).
Louise Forster, head of brand and people with the as-yet unnamed merger of Community First, Care Options and Volunteer Task Force, says that residential facilities would benefit from adopting a mindset in which new approaches are trialled.
The organisation has seen growth in its home care packages after adopting an approach of tailoring packages to client need rather than presenting a blanket list of costed services, said Ms Forster.
“We don’t have this hard and fast structure around pricing. Instead we have flexibility to be able to find out what the customer wants and how important tailoring is to them, say around exact times or specific staff or tasks, which is more expensive to deliver,” she said.
Rather than presenting a menu of options upfront, which can lead to “choice paralysis” for older people and their families, the organisation recruited a former bank manager to work as a “customer service officer” to meet with prospective clients and identify their preferences.
“She will have the conversation around what they need and what they value, and then she goes back with a proposal around how we can make that work,” said Ms Forster.
Ms Forster, who appears at next week’s Implementing Increased Choice in Aged Care conference, said that residential aged care may find individualised services more onerous given the higher levels of bureaucracy.
But she said that adopting a mindset where new flexible and tailored approaches could be trialled was essential for facilities looking to adopt consumer directed care.
“It may be a satellite approach, where it’s one person or one facility setting something up and evaluating how it works.”
She also encouraged facilities to consider looking outside the sector for new recruits.
“We can learn so much from hospitality, banking and retail, for instance. But you can’t just pluck people from the corporate world, they need to have the right values that will align with your organisation and mission,” she said.
The Increasing Choice in Aged Care Conference, hosted by Criterion and COTA, takes place on 27-28 June in Sydney.
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