Helping Hand CDC client. Image courtesy of Helping Hand
By Natasha Egan
Seniors advocacy organisation COTA Australia has teamed up with aged care peak associations Aged and Community Care Services Australia (ACSA) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) to identify issues and develop solutions to support providers with the delivery of consumer directed care (CDC).
CDC, which aims to give people more choice and control in how they receive services, is mandatory for all new community aged care packages from 1 August this year and existing packages by 1 July 2015, and forms a key part of the government’s Living Longer Living Better reforms that passed through parliament at the end of June.
LASA CEO Patrick Reid said CDC changed the way many providers operated, and that there were different levels of readiness for this change within the sector.
“This project enables us to identify the challenges and issues for providers as well as develop approaches and solutions that will support them as they adopt the consumer directed model of service delivery,” Mr Reid said.
ACSA CEO Adjunct Professor John Kelly said a lot of community care organisations were already delivering CDC, so this project would complement and supplement providers.
“We are very positive about this as a project for providers to clarify the CDC landscape so we can work with our clients,” Prof Kelly said.
COTA Australia CE Ian Yates said the current system clearly defined what an aged care recipient was eligible to receive, whereas under a consumer directed model the client would be supported to make choices about services that support their goals.
“This project entails working with providers to assist in their engagement with consumers to make CDC work effectively,” Mr Yates said.
“The aim is to offer both a consulting service and also to develop resource materials, both printable information and online training resources, which can be accessible by anyone, anytime,” he said.
As CDC is not yet an area with a great deal of expertise in Australia, providers and consumers will be learning as they go, Mr Yates said.
“We see this can be a great area of improvement with the development of resources.”
Preparation for the project has already begun and the three organisations will come together in early August for the first formal planning meeting.
While it is a three-year project, Prof Kelly said a lot of work might need to be done in the next six months to meet the immediate challenge of providers being required to deliver packages on a CDC basis as early as this week.
Building capacity among consumers
In addition to the provider-focused project, COTA has been awarded commonwealth funding for a second CDC project aimed at building capacity among consumers.
In conjunction with providers and starting with current CDC consumers, the project will involve working with clients to enhance their understanding of CDC, Mr Yates said.
“We will look at a range of techniques, but a lot will be of a peer-to-peer nature. We will recruit people that have experience themselves and then work in groups of consumers,” he said.
While the immediate priority is reaching people in the initial CDC round, Mr Yates said the project would extend to other people in the community throughout the three-year funding period.
This project will also look at whether resource materials will be useful, he said.