EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – Exract
Significant changes have been made to the way in- home support for older people is delivered in Australia. The Australian Government via the Commonwealth Department of Health funded Dr Russell to investigate the impact of these changes from the ‘consumer’ perspective. Dr Russell partnered with Peninsula Health to undertake this research.
Involving ‘consumers’ in an investigation of the way aged care services are delivered is recommended as a means of improving the quality of these services. In a system where the perspectives of government, bureaucrats, providers and professional groups dominate policy and practice, it is helpful to read the views and experiences of recipients of in-home care.
Forty older people and/or their support person described what is working well with in-home care – both the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and home care packages. They also described what is not working well. Participants made practical suggestions to improve in-home care.
When asked to describe the best thing about in-home care, participants unanimously replied: “It enables me to live at home.” Some described in-home care as a “godsend”. Without the government subsidy, many older people would be unable to remain in their own homes.
Participants agreed that the concept of the home care package was “fantastic”. However, they expressed concerns about how some providers deliver it. Several participants suggested some companies should not have licences to be in-home care providers.
Providers of both the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and home care packages must be approved to deliver services. For the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, this is done through competitive growth funding rounds. For home care packages, an application is submitted to the Commonwealth Department of Health to review suitability as per criteria stipulated in the Aged Care Act 1997.
Participants suggested the government should restrict licences to only those companies that can demonstrate expertise in aged care. This would include providers that employ qualified staff and provide ongoing staff training. Participants receiving home care packages suggested it should be mandatory for them to be given a schedule of fees before they signed the Home Care Agreement. Although providers are expected to do this, not all did.
SOURCE: Russell, Sarah. “Older People Living Well with In-Home Support.” Research Matters, March 2019
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This research was funded by the Australian Government via the Commonwealth Department of Health.
For further information contact:
Dr Sarah Russell
Principal Researcher, Research Matters
PO Box 1235, Fitzroy North, VIC 3068
Director, Aged Care Matters
Trying to arrange in-home aged care like ‘going to war’, new report finds / Caroline Winter, ABC news, 6 March 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia