One of our eagle eyed team members here at Aged Care Reviews noticed reports yesterday that a prominent aged care operator will voluntarily roll out ‘consumer directed care’ for aged care facility residents.
What is ‘Consumer Directed Care’
Put simply, as we’ve reported before, consumer directed care is where a care recipient, in this case a resident, controls the care that they receive and how it is provided.
Consumer directed care also means that a ‘care budget’ will be established for each resident (roughly aligning to the ongoing care payments made by a resident). Once a care budget is established, the resident (and their family) will decide how that care budget is used.
The Future is With You
Put simply, a move to consumer directed care puts you at the centre of the care that will be delivered.
A resident and their family will be far more involved in planning, reviewing and monitoring the nature of the care services that a resident receives.
At the moment most residents and families experience a care planning system that is developed by nurses in an aged care facility, removed of input from the family. Where input occurs it is informal, and it is up to the aged care facility staff whether they will listen.
Consumer directed care means greater transparency. Residents and their families will know their care budget, understand the focus of care planning (i.e. where is the money being spent), control the final care plan, and ensure regular reviews. If care isn’t being given in accordance with the agreed care plan and care budget, facilities will be accountable.
Coming to a facility near you soon, or maybe sooner?
Consumer directed care is currently only compulsory for 'in home care' providers.
The Federal Government has previously announced that it will trial consumer directed care in a residential aged care setting in 2013-14 (the financial year almost gone), and then evaluate the trial in 2014-15 (the next 12 months).
The move by prominent nursing home operator Domain Principal (now rebranded as Opal Aged Care) is interesting because of the faith they are placing in their facility and care staff. Consumer directed care takes control out of the hands of facility staff, and places it in the hands of residents and their families. Some aged care operators won't like that, and as yet it isn't compsulsory. We say good on Opal Aged Care in this regard.
We hope the move by Opal Aged Care may prompt other aged care operators to make the leap and place greater care planning control in the hands of their residents and families. Aged care nursing in Australia is about to undergo a mini revolution.
Money, Money, Money
The recent move to force publication of accommodation prices as of 1 July, and the move to consumer directed care, are linked.
The link is money. Your money. While aged care seems to be moving to a greater user-pays model, aged care operators are becoming accountable for the service they are charging for. Accommodation prices must come with a clear description of rooms and amenities. Consumer directed care will establish accountable care budgets.
The end result is overwhelmingly positive for the public. Greater transparency in what your accommodation bond and ongoing care fees buy will result in operators being held to their word, and their promises.
Aged Care Reviews was equally established to bring transparency to the Australian aged care industry. With a growing database of Australian aged care facility ratings and reviews, the public will have an an increasing array of tools at their fingertips to make an informed decision.