A comprehensive training package for home care providers to get on top of consumer directed care is now available as part of a new research project that focused on the application of CDC in indigenous, rural and remote and CALD communities.Screen shot 2015-04-16 at 11.07.19 PM

The training package takes case managers through CHOICES, an evidence-based consumer directed care model designed with older people and developed by Deakin University in partnership with UnitingCare lifeAssist.

CHOICES meets all the requirements outlined in the Federal Government’s program guidelines on home care packages and incorporates a wellness and reablement framework.

Comprising of organisational readiness tools and nine online training modules, the training covers a range of topics including motivational goal planning, individualised budgets and restorative health and capacity building.

Lead researcher on the project Associate Professor Goetz Ottmann from Deakin University’s School of Nursing told Australian Ageing Agenda that CHOICES was designed to build the capacity of clients and carers to assume more control over their care and incorporates three levels of self-direction.

At the most basic level clients could have a greater say over their care planning, graduating to involvement in care coordination tasks and at an advanced level assume responsibility for care finances and administration.

Care facilitator support was available at all levels but tended to lessen as the client gains confidence, skills and experience in self-directing at higher levels.

Dr Ottmann said if fully implemented, the CHOICES model was likely to increase client satisfaction with their care, care options and the say they had in their care.

The CHOICES in Aged Care project builds on an earlier project known as the People at Centre Stage (PACS) model, a pioneering CDC model developed and tested in urban areas in Australia.

CHOICES adapted the successful PACS model for use in rural and remote, culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and was recently trialled by approximately 130 older people in NSW and Victoria.

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Click to watch an animated introduction to the CDC model online
Role of care facilitator

The CHOICES model replaced the term case manager with care facilitator in recognition of their different role under a CDC philosophy. In this model, care facilitators must be skilled trainers and mentors to build the capacity of clients to set aspirational goals and make good decisions regarding their own care, said Dr Ottmann.

Their role was largely one of mentoring, capacity building, information provision and ensuring that safeguards are in place through a risk management strategy.

“What is the coming out of the UK literature at the moment is that one of the most important roles that case managers take on is really that of a risk manager within a CDC framework,” Dr Ottmann told AAA.

“What a case manager tends to be for a person who wants to self-direct at an advanced level is to ensure that the risks are essentially identified and mitigated.”

Dr Ottmann said that while older people wanted more say, they did not necessarily want to take on more administrative tasks.

As part of the PACS trial, only 20 per cent of participants chose to take on more advanced roles in the direction and management of their care.

Dr Ottmann said a key focus of the training was also getting providers to think about how to retain a community development approach that traditional case management had at its core within a market-based environment.

The CHOICES in Aged Care project was funded by the Department of Social Services as part of the Encouraging Best Practice in Residential Aged Care program.

Providers can access the resources and training for free at The CHOICES in Aged Care project website.

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