Much to learn about consumer directed care

Providers see the government’s new consumer directed care trial as an opportunity to explore new models of care.

Aged care groups have stressed the need for a thorough evaluation of the government’s new consumer directed care initiative.

Last week the Minister for Ageing announced the creation of 700 new flexible packaged care care and respite places that would trial consumer directed approaches to care.

The initiative is an important step towards a more responsive aged care system, according to Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA).

The association’s CEO, Greg Mundy said the packages presented an important opportunity to learn more about consumer direction.

“No one would dispute that we should give older people more opportunity to say what happens in terms of the care they receive,” he said. “The concept of consumer directed care is widely accepted.”

“But there is still some debate about the best way of doing that in practice.”

Last month the association released a policy paper which highlighted the need for professional support and advice for clients who choose to manage their own care.

It also warned that governments should not view consumer directed care as a measure for cutting costs.

“We need to be wary of the assumption that it’s the best thing since sliced bread for everybody,” Mr Mundy said.

“I think it’s clear that there are things that will work and things that won’t work and it is important to determine that through trials such as this.”

The announcement was welcomed by South Australian provider, ACH Group, which has been trialling consumer directed care initiatives within the existing aged care framework since last September.

The group’s General Manager for Health and Community Services, Jane Mussared described the initiative as an exciting opportunity.

“It will be important to examine the extent to which the existing structures are supportive of consumer directed care so that we can maximise consumer choice and control,” she said.

“It will be occurring on the front end of the Productivity Commission review which will be quite helpful in terms of informing that review, as it takes a larger scale look at aged care.”

The initiative was also welcomed by fellow South Australian provider Resthaven, which is conducting a similar trial.

The group’s CEO, Richard Hearn praised the government for delivering on its commitment to innovative aged care programs.

“We think this announcement is really positive because it encourages service providers to look again at ensuring they are focusing on the individual and the principles of person care,” he said.

“We are very supportive of the announcement and we will be showing a lot of interest in the round.

“At a broader level, it’s an important announcement for service providers generally and I expect a number of them will put their hands up to see how they can be part of this.”

Tags: ach, acsa, consumer-directed-care, resthaven, trial,

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