The Commonwealth Government has allocated the places for its new consumer directed care (CDC) packages and respite places.
The government announced 500 flexible community care places and 200 flexible respite places in May as part of a trial to evaluate the role of CDC programs in Australia.
Providers involved in the trial program will be required to offer clients control over the way they access their care.
Helping Hand Aged Care CEO and long time CDC advocate, Ian Hardy, welcomed the trial an important first step.
Mr Hardy has been calling for greater consumer control since his tenure as ACSA president a decade ago.
Two years ago, he traveled overseas as a Churchill Fellow to investigate CDC models in Japan and Europe.
Mr Hardy said the CDC trial was an excellent opportunity for providers to see how the model can be applied to Australian conditions.
“The first thing we have to do is to make sure that we are hearing people’s choices clearly,” he said.
“We have to be providing them with the information and the opportunity to express themselves honestly and clearly. The starting point has to be finding what the consumer identifies as making a difference to their lives.”
Helping Hand has received 10 CDC packages in regional South Australia and Mr Hardy said it would be interesting to see how the model worked in non-metropolitan areas.
“The overseas experience tells us that the cost of travel in rural and remote areas has a big impact on the amount of funding that is available for direct support,” he said.
“That was very much the experience in Japan, for example, where the uptake of CDC options was much lower in rural and remote areas.”
The CEO of IRT, Nieves Murray, sees the trial as a chance to assist customers to access the services they want.
Her organisation received 39 CDC packages in NSW and the ACT through the allocation process.
“One of the tests for us will be about the fluidity of service and how we go at moving away from the comfort zone of offering a menu of services based on prescribed measures set by the government,” said Ms Murray.
“My staff will say to you that they do that all the time anyway and it is their best endeavour. However because of the regulatory requirements, there is a propensity to fall back on a menu of set services.
“The big organisational challenge for us is to deliver and execute on our value proposition of being customer centric. It’s something we have been working towards at a number of levels in recent years.”
Ms Murray added that IRT was keen to collaborate with other providers when it begins to evaluate the success of the new packages.
“As a non-profit organisation, we see it as our obligation to share our findings and assist others as they commence,” she said.