Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2014 Contents Paul Ostrowski
Care Connect's primary service offering is
case management, which accounts for at
least 80 per cent of its business although it
does have some support workers following
last year's merger with Diverse Care,
explains CEO Paul Ostrowski.
"However, we don't like the term case management,
we prefer advice or facilitation because people are not
cases and it is no longer our role to manage them. It is
our role to empower them or facilitate them to be able to manage
their own lives," Ostrowski says.
GETTING CDC READY
Care Connect began providing CDC packages following the
inaugural CDC funding round. Prior to that the organisation had
spent three years preparing for consumer directed aged care and
individualised funding for disability services, Ostrowski says.
They engaged an international consultant to re-engineer their
service approach resulting in their My Life, My Choice, My Way
model. They also involved their consumer advisory committee
throughout service design and implementation and continue to
include them for ongoing re-evaluation.
"I think many people innately believe that they do person-
centred practice, they behave in a CDC fashion, but when the
rubber hits the road and you have somebody from the outside
assess how you are doing you often find that it is not exactly what
you thought it was going to be."
For providers which are not yet delivering CDC, Ostrowski strongly
recommends they begin testing a CDC approach immediately.
"You should not underestimate the amount of work required
to do CDC properly. I'm talking about understanding your costs,
making sure your model of service is appropriately adapted,
making sure your technology can support things appropriately.
"Do not presume your systems can produce an accurate
statement. It took us some months of work, which we did outside
of our standard system, to be able to produce what we consider
to be very clear statements.
A budget tool for your clients that clearly explains how
the process will work and how much each step will cost in the
package makes an enormous difference," he advises.
WORKING OUT COSTS
Across the sector organisations are asking themselves how
much they spend on administration and how much of the
funding should go to direct services, Ostrowksi says. "We
did a great deal of internal work on that and believe that for
the majority of clients, combined administration and case
management of around about 30 per cent works for most
PRESENTING IT CLEARLY
Care Connect is using a "very sophisticated budgeting tool" that
instantly helps people better understand the steps taken to get
them the best possible support and how much those steps and
services will cost, Ostrowski says. "If you can represent that very
graphically for people it allows them to make informed decisions
about which way they would like their services moved."
(L to R) Carer Frances and Care Connect client
Irene, with Care Connect client adviser Tracy Hall.
CDC AND SERVICE SNAPSHOT
All CDC packages, which are in south-east Queensland, have
been taken up at some point although there are current vacancies,
particularly with level 1 packages.
• brokering arrangements with 580 providers
• broker 250,000 hours of services every year
UNDERS, OVERS AND CONTINGENCIES
While blowing out the budget happens, it is only in
small numbers and the regularity of CDC statements
keeps on top of that, Ostrowski says.
While the guidelines say contingency funds should
not exceed 10 per cent, he admits there are some who would
like to set aside more. "One of the things our budget tool does
is very quickly creates an alert than says you're striving for a
contingency that is larger than the guidelines allow."
TECHNOLOGY IS KING
Technology will play a very significant role in implementing CDC
but most of the systems today are not designed primarily around
managing personal budgets, says Ostrowski. "Having looked at all
of the options in the market we are now in the middle of a major
process where we are looking to replace our IT systems...because
there is enormous potential for technology to really improve
people's experience of the aged care system." n
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