Adjusting to Consumer Directed Care

The experiences of older adults and their carers at the Brotherhood of St Laurence

Bonnie Simons, Helen Kimberley, Nicky McColl Jones 2016

Consumer Directed Care

Australia’s approach to providing age care in the home has undergone radical change due to reforms emanating from the Productivity Commission report, Living longer, living better. Under the banner of Consumer Directed Care, aged care clients can exercise individual choice and control of their government-subsidised Home Care Packages. Adjusting to Consumer Directed Care reports on the experiences of older adults and their carers at the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the factors that influenced their adjustment to CDC.

Capacity to self-manage determines quantity of services  

Consumers without capacity to self-manage due perhaps to cognitive impairment, low levels of literacy, numeracy and other life skills, pay a larger portion of their subsidy for case management than consumers who can self-manage thus reducing the services they can afford.

While many consumers are keen to take an active role, some preferred to hand responsibility to their case manager, regardless of their capacity to manage.

Adequacy of available funding

Consumers whose care needs can be met within the available subsidy, fare better than those with more complex care needs who have had to prioritise their services to fit within their individual subsidy. Some consumers are more willing than others to be creative in this regard.

Support networks outside formal care services

Consumers with additional resources such as family support and funds are able to supplement services provided by their packages and experience greater wellbeing than those entirely reliant on services their package.

For capable adults CDC may live up its philosophy of choice and control. Others however will require practical support such as administrative, financial and professional assistance to enable them to undertake management and administration of their services, to encourage autonomy, choice and positive risk taking, and to safeguard against abuse.

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Bonnie Simons