More Choices for In-Home Support and Care
The provision of In-Home services for the older person has been growing for many years and is now a significant segment of the aged care industry.
As we become older, our ability to be totally independent diminishes at several different levels. For instance, a variety of necessary tasks such as home maintenance, transport, cooking, personal care and so on become more difficult to do without assistance. At a different level, we may need regular medical attention or attention from allied health professionals such as podiatrists and physiotherapists. At one time, all we could have done was to rely on family members for assistance or to move into a retirement village or aged care facility that offered help in these areas.
With In-Home assistance, the crucial benefit to the older person is that you can easily stay at home or your retirement village home for a significantly longer time and also reduce the dependence on family members. This has a significant impact on the quality of life, not only for the older person but the rest of the family as well. Family burdens are reduced, relationships with children get repaired. The older person has a lot less stress and can enjoy his or her time with a sense of freedom and independence.
Today, In-Home service providers have programmes to assist with necessities in your own home or indeed, in your retirement village.
These services can be self-funded or government-assisted. For government-funded programmes, in the past, the choice of services and the choice of provider did not lie with the consumer but with assessment teams. That is changing, and from July 2015 onwards, the government has brought in reforms that will ultimately lead to “Consumer Directed Care (CDC)”, where the client himself or herself has the choice of the package of services to which their entitlements will be applied and also a choice as to the provider.
The change will have a significant impact on the competitiveness of the whole sector and should benefit all clients whether they are funding the support services themselves or through a subsidy from the government. As competition increases, so does choice and it is important to make the right choice, as it will significantly affect the quality of your life.
The variety of services that may need to be provided to achieve the desired outcomes is very extensive. Government-funded programmes define just a few categories, such as meals, transport, domestic assistance, continence management and so on, however, as you delve a little bit deeper it is clear that the breadth of services required is very large and changes with time. The skills pool needed could include allied health professionals of every type, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, domestic helpers… the list is very extensive and the smaller providers may find it difficult to provide comprehensive services.
We spoke to Right at Home Operations Manager Niel Bosman who explained the Right CareTM Process that all of the Right at Home offices follow:
“After an initial meeting with you, we develop a Custom Care Plan. Once approved, we begin our search for the best person to implement that care and assistance. All our care staff are highly trained, screened and insured professionals. We match our caregivers to our clients based on expertise, background and mutual interests.
“We have a methodical process to assess our client’s needs. In a short space of time, we can determine and understand our client’s unique situation. During each visit, the caregiver will take care notes, which cover each of the tasks designated in the Custom Care Plan. Our Care Managers and Care Coordinators make frequent, complimentary supervisory visits to your home to meet with you and the caregiver to discuss the Custom Care Plan and to ensure that you are happy with the services we are providing. Our Care Managers will also liaise with designated family members to provide feedback on the Custom Care Plan and the progress we are making. Right at Home in-home care is all about you.
The full spectrum of in-home care services ranges from dementia care, domestic support, companionship and socialisation to personal care, post-operative care, and skilled nursing. An advantage of choosing a provider with a large range of services is that they can continue the service of care and support for you as you age and as your needs change. It’s never a one size fits all.
How do industry providers expect that the landscape will change with the greater empowerment and choice being offered in the future by government schemes?
It is a challenge to service the varying and many requirements of client. However, in the long term, it is the providers who can provide what is close to a one-stop-shop, are the ones most likely to survive.
Additionally, all will have to invest very heavily into training. Training will likely become a mandatory expectation for staff, so they will be trained to certificate level as a matter of course.
As services in the In-Home space have always been a mixture of self-funded and government subsidised services, competition has always been there to a certain extent. The new reforms will make the competition that much more intense, which is a good thing all around, and not only in the service offerings and quality of the client experience but also in responsiveness and behind the scenes efficiencies.
Increased competition generally leads to better quality and service delivery, so we can look forward to a whole new level of In-Home support services as part of the aged care landscape in Australia.
Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide