Community care organisations struggling with the impending full roll out of consumer directed care in nine months now have a new batch of resources and tools to help them make the necessary transition.
A new financial package to assist services with costing and pricing is about to be added to Home Care Today, the online suite of resources developed by Council on the Ageing (COTA) in conjunction with provider peak bodies.
The financial package will cover areas such as individual budgets, benchmarking overheads, service costing and pricing strategies. It includes manuals, sample Excel sheets and other tools, and will be introduced via a webinar to instruct users on how to use the materials.
“It’s really going through it from the beginning,” said Ronda Held, manager of Home Care Today at COTA. “How do you understand and break down what your services costs are, because a lot of providers have never had to do that before. Once you understand your costs, how do you price your services in an individual budget.”
Many organisations, particularly those who had not been part of CDC pilots, had not started work on their transition to CDC, Held said. “And people have done a lot on the individual budgets on the case manager end, but it’s the information that goes into that that’s the issue, how they actually work out those costs,” she added.
Suite of tools
Held said there has been positive feedback from providers who have used the site. “We did a lot of consultation when we set up this service to determine what people wanted. They wanted us to relate [the resources] to the standards and the Home Care guidelines so that it was very practical and really told them where they needed to go.”
Among the key features of the Home Care Today site are an organisational self-assessment tool, which includes a CDC readiness survey, a governance and leadership questionnaire and a case manager questionnaire on CDC attitudes.
Home Care Today also engaged Community West to develop a series of learning resources that organisations can use to help their staff discuss CDC with their clients and consumers, using the CDC principles.
Each of these modules consists of videos and handbooks and covers areas such as customer service, stereotypes, consumer perspectives, and wellness.
There are a range of other resources that look at specific challenges in the transition to CDC, such as workforce, organisational transformation and “competitive edge”.
To complement this online suite of resources, Held said that COTA was staging a national series of 21 workshops where organisations can get face-to-face feedback and assistance.
“We encourage providers to do that organisational self-assessment and then come along to the workshop and really work during that day on the areas and challenges they’ve identified.”
Asked how organisations were finding the transition to CDC, Held said it varied immensely. “It’s very different right across the country. There’s no set pattern. There are some very large providers who are still not a long way down the track, obviously the ones that did pilots are further along; there are some small providers that have done a lot of work and others who are still struggling with it.”
Held said her advice for organisations was to begin by accessing the resources on the Home Care Today site, and reinforcing this assistance by attending a workshop.
“We are also saying to people, try it out, don’t wait until your systems are absolutely perfect, you learn a lot by actually trialling a few packages and see how you go. You can do that manually.”
The other key advice was around consumer engagement, she said. “Involve your consumers in designing your CDC approach, because it will end up working a lot better if they have an input up front. See what the consumers think before you finalise your model. There are some examples of approaches that have been done that way and they ended up working a lot better.”
Held added that 50,000 copies of the consumer information booklet, Your guide to new choices in home care, had been distributed, and a further 50,000 had been printed. The guide is also available in 11 languages online. Providers were finding this helpful in having the CDC conversation with their clients, she said.