The transition to consumer directed care packages is contributing to more flexible and responsive care for culturally and linguistically diverse seniors, however concerns remain over the capacity of clients with limited family support and English language skills to direct their own care, according to a not-for-profit CALD provider.
The CEO of Australian Multicultural Community Services (AMCS), Elizabeth Drozd, said while CDC has delivered many benefits for older people, the implications for clients without family support was her top concern.
In the transition to CDC, care managers have witnessed an increase in family involvement in care as individuals and families have taken on more responsibility for planning and directing their package, as well as improved care coordination.
The flexibility of this approach has also meant more creative solutions can be found to support a person’s goals.
For example, a socially isolated client was able to use her packaged care funds to purchase satellite TV and a subscription to an Arabic TV channel to support her language needs, Ms Drozd told the Future of Home and Community conference in Sydney last week.
Another client from an Egyptian background chose to rotate between two carers and select only English-speaking staff to practice her English language skills as part of her goal setting.
AMCS, an early adopter of CDC, has undertaken a project with Leadership Victoria to help prepare the organisation for the transition to a CDC environment.
As part of the project, ACMS developed a training program and financial tool to ensure that staff understand the cost of delivering care, calculate appropriate labour rates for direct care and care managers, monitor actual costs and prepare statements for clients.
The tool has been disseminated to other providers in the sector and has been successfully adopted by both large and small providers, she said.
Overall, Ms Drozd said the organisation’s care advisors have overcome their initial trepidation and recognised CDC as a “great professional opportunity” to develop new skills.
Uptake of packages among the challenges
Ms Drozd said the loss of the ability to cross-subsidise services has meant that some families have agreed to pay private brokerage fees to maintain their current levels of services.
She said the low take-up of some care packages due to the income-tested care fee was also concerning and better integration between the CHSP and the home care package program was necessary to remove the incentive to stay in the HACC system.
Changing client expectations around their contribution to care costs for those that have the capacity to pay will also take time, she said.
AMCS has published reflections from case managers from their journey with CDC, which started in 2013.
Commenting on other reforms, Ms Drozd said face-to-face assessment through My Aged Care was a very important win for CALD seniors and that further work was necessary in dementia awareness as CALD seniors’ understanding of dementia was poor and stigma high.
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