Self-managing aged home care packages

Stream: Aged care services
Date: Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Time: 10.45 am – 12.25 pm

Abstract

(Alternatively Human Services Strand) This paper reports on the findings of a pre-trial study of older people who planned to self-manage their home care packages. The trial was conducted by COTA Australia in 2018-19 with seven service providers and 100 clients, 65 having family carers acting on their behalf. RMIT University evaluated the trial. Aged care legislation and policies promote consumer choice and control using a consumer directed care (CDC) model. However, options are often limited when service providers manage the package. The research questions asked of older people and their carers in the pre-trial study were: what advantages they expected; confidence to self-manage; information and supports wanted; and any concerns, perceived risks or stresses. The research methods used were: separate online surveys for all consumers and carers; and semi-structured telephone interviews with a stratified sample of 18 consumers/carers. The major reasons for wanting to self-manage were: hassles with service providers; saving administration costs and having more funds to spend on supports; using funds flexibly; and wanting to know the account balance in real time. An important finding was that only one person identified any possible stresses or risks, this being a concern about having to repay any overspent funds. As other studies have identified a range of possible risks, the findings suggest that older people may be unaware of the risks that self-management brings. The implication of this finding is that policy makers and service providers need policies that provide oversight while fostering autonomy in those who self-mange.

Author

Carmel Laragy (Presenter), RMIT University
Dr Carmel Laragy has extensive experience researching self-management of disability and aged care packages in Australia and overseas. She has in-depth knowledge of the many facets that this transition entails when people have more choice and control over their services and supports. Factors include organisational cultural change, the design of services to support informed decision making, available services and supports to purchase, a suitably trained and skilled workforce, and balancing opportunities and risk.