Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Mar-Apl 2013 Contents In the CDC starting blocks
By Keryn Curtis
Eyes on your inbox:
EAST COAST COMMUNITY
care provider, Care Connect,
has unveiled its new
of practice entitled My
Life, My Choice, My
Way, at a function
state and federal
reforms related to
consumer-directed care, is
the result of a two-year research
and development process and a
successful pilot last year.
Care Connect chief executive
officer, Paul Ostrowski, said
developing and implementing
the seven-step model -- which
involves working with individuals
to develop a plan of support,
taking into account all aspects
of their life including health,
emotional wellbeing, family and
community supports -- has been
a long and complex journey.
"It's a whole philosophical
approach but it has very
practical implications across the
organisation," said Mr Ostrowski.
"My Life, My Choice, My Way
involves a fundamentally different
approach to the way that our
client advisers work with the
people we support.
"In the past, a case manager
-- and the word 'manager' is
important here -- would have a
discussion with the client and take
a management approach to their
needs. That was just the practice
model we all used, informed by
the desire to do everything you
can for that person."
Mr Ostrowski said that an
extensive body of research both
in Australia and internationally,
has since demonstrated that a
consumer-directed approach is
"We know now from a great
deal of research, that people
who have control of their funding
and who can lead the decision
making process, are more likely
to have stronger health outcomes
and positive implications across
aged care and disability.
"Federal and state
governments have changed
their approach," he said,
pointing to the National
Disability Insurance Scheme
(NDIS) and consumer-directed
aged care services which will
apply to all new home care
services from July 1 this year.
"And we know that Vic
Health has adopted the active
enablement model too -- of doing
with, not for," Mr Ostrowski said.
Under the My Life, My Choice,
My Way practice model (see
illustration), the organisation has
adopted a new language too.
Care Connect staff have
become 'advisers' and
'facilitators', working with clients
to help them obtain what they
want from their funding.
"So, for example, with the third
step in the program -- plan my
future -- in the past it would have
been a discussion with the case
manager and client about a
"Now, the client
is invited to bring
in their life -- their
family members, a
in their circle of
support -- along
to a facilitated
their home or
choose and the
a discussion where
the client makes the
decisions," said Mr
In line with this shift, the
organisation has completely
divested itself of all service
provision, focusing solely on
advisory services and brokerage.
"We believe that independent
advice is a very strong value
and it would be a conflict of
interest to position ourselves as
independent advisers and to also
provide the services.
"Over the course of the last
18 months, we have systemically
exited the provision of services
and now have a brokerage
model. There are hundreds we
deal with all around Australia."
MAKING THE LEAP
Mr Ostrowski said the process of
transition has been positive but
does not deny that there have
been some challenges for staff.
"There's no doubt that
facilitating a big public
conversation with a group of
people can be a challenge and
remains a challenge for some.
What brings people along is when
they get the positive response."
In developing the new
model and devising the pilot,
Care Connect engaged an
external international consulting
group -- Helen Sanderson and
Associates -- to conduct a critical
assessment of the organisation's
"We wanted a no holds barred
assessment," said Mr Ostrowski.
"You can fall into the trap
of thinking, oh we already do
person-centred care. At the
start of the process all our case
managers categorically believed
that they already practiced
person-centred care. At the
end of the pilot, having now
understood what it involves, staff
realised they did not.
"And the good thing was
that the clients said they were
happy before but they were even
happier now," he said.
Mr Ostrowski said he felt very
excited about the future.
"We believe we are well
placed for the future as
knowledge brokers, providing a
key information source with this
"No question, there is
an enormous technological
challenge for the sector in making
the shift to a person-centred
approach but we are practicing
using the traditional system and
making modifications to that. It
will all be well available for the
July 1 deadline." n
THE DEMENTIA Collaborative Research Centre (DCRC): Carers
and Consumers has invited residential aged care facilities across
the country to participate in its national survey of research.
The project marks the first national snapshot of research
activity within residential aged care.
If your facility has not been contacted by the middle of
March, contact David Wellman on 07 3138 3885 or email
12 | MARCH -- APRIL 2013 | AAA
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