Providers who have not yet begun planning for the shift to consumer directed care need to do so now, by collaborating with clients, the community and other providers, the Aged and Community Services (ACSA) national conference was told on Monday.
Aged and community care providers should reflect on their organisation and values, and view the rollout of CDC as an opportunity to invest in culture change and to collaborate and innovate.
A panel of providers discussing the rollout of CDC told the conference in Melbourne that it was bringing about “a new paradigm”, which would enable older people to consider what they wanted from life, what their goals were and how services could facilitate that.
Lisa Ralph from ACSA NSW said that trials of CDC had shown it helped bring about conversations with older people about how their lives could be enriched by services. “It’s also opened up opportunities for staff, supporting them to work differently,” she said.
Robyn Batten from Bluecare said consumers “want something different” and that CDC was one response, though more were needed. “It’s one way of providing flexible services that are built around the person. It’s inevitable and welcome,” she said.
Discussing the growth in community care and older people’s preferences to age in place, Ms Batten said her organisation had moved from 40 per cent low care to 8 per cent in a period of five years, “largely due to the range of scope and quantity of care available, meaning people are increasingly able to remain independent.”
The panel discussed the importance of ensuring appropriate education of older people and the community in the new CDC world.
Ms Ralph said the trial of CDC had demonstrated both consumers and providers could learn how to operate in a CDC system. “Three years ago care plans were not that different to the traditional package, but now they’re quite different. Consumers are learning as well how to articulate what they want and what they can ask for. Education is happening such as the capacity building for consumers and providers… Our role as provider is to work with and educate the consumer so they can make the most out of their package.”
Fellow panelist Rod Hunt of Hunt and Fitzgerald agreed education would be key and he pointed to the Council on the Ageing’s strategy for “peer educators”, which would be a crucial part of the education process.
“We do need to play the role of educating the community,” Mr Hunt said. “I havent seen ads on TV like I’ve seen for the NDIS, educating people about CDC in aged care.”
Panel facilitator Dr Norman Swan asked about the “fine line between educating and marketing”, to which Ms Batten replied, “I think we do both”.
She said providers should not shy away from marketing, because it is legitimate part of putting before people a range of options. “Like with any other area of life, they can choose to take or leave it. I don’t think we should start from the presumption that older people can’t make intellligent descisions about their lives,” she said.
Making the transition
When discussing how providers can best work to make the move to CDC, Jan Horsnell of Souther Cross Care Victoria said her organisation had invested heavily in educating its staff.
“It was about teaching them how to work differently, it was about giving control over to the client and family. In that sense it has made the relationship a lot more even,” she said.
Kevin Klose of McLean Care said that, from a rural perspective, it would be very important for organisations to consider what value they added to someone’s life, “what is it we’re actually offering and why should they chose our service.”
“It will be very important for organisations to understand the unit cost of service delivery if they are to survive,” Mr Klose added.
Ms Ralph advised those providers who hadn’t begun preparing for CDC to start now. “You have 18 months left to practice and try. Also, recognise that 1 July isn’t a magic date. The culture change that’s coming will happen over time,” she said.
Ms Horsnell advised providers to view the rollout of CDC as an opportunity to “look at what you do, your culture, your values”. She also advised they talk to other organisations that have been engaged in CDC.
Mr Hunt said to “compete through innovation and innovate through competition.” He advised providers to “get out there and enjoy it. I also think, as a sector, we need to be pushing IT providers to make sure they’re giving us better software so we can quickly manage the administration and financial changes.”
Ms Batten advised providers to start planning now if they hadn’t already done so. “Invest in culture change like you never have before. It’s hugely important. And I would say collaborate with the community, collaborate with clients and with other providers.”