Jo Boylan_NEW
Jo Boylan, Southern Cross Care SA & NT.

The wellness and restorative approach underpinning the new Commonwealth Home Support Program is transforming the traditional role of community care providers and will demand new skills in areas such as health promotion, says an industry leader.

Director of operations at Southern Cross Care SA & NT Jo Boylan said the challenge for providers will be to shift from a service model that promotes passivity and dependency to one that enables clients and focuses on consumer strengths and goals. She said this will involve transforming from a ‘doing for’ to a ‘doing with’ service culture (see below).

To help build these new skill sets in staff and clients, Southern Cross Care SA & NT has developed a ‘partnering for healthy ageing’ program, which is currently being rolled out across the organisation and involves the training of 88 staff.

“The program identifies factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle and looks at defining health and healthy ageing as more than just the absence of disease,” she said. “We look at the assumptions that underline beliefs relating to healthy ageing and describe the role of the person and self-management. It’s about building self-efficacy, which in turn builds resilience in consumers of home support and care services,” she tells Community Care Review ahead of her presentation to the Implementing the Commonwealth Home Support Programme conference next month.

Ms Boylan said her organisation’s focus group research with consumers revealed that clients were desperate for health literacy to help support them to live independently at home. “Health literacy can look like information about diet and nutrition, how to keep physical, how to modify a kitchen or even where to go to access a gym,” she said.

Pastoral care and supporting emotional wellbeing also ranked as high priorities for clients when defining what healthy ageing meant to them. She said:

“What we’re doing with our staff is building a mindset for healthy ageing. One of the techniques we will use is around positive psychology and looking at the attributes that give rise to a mindset for healthy ageing but also general wellbeing. We also have a strong focus on reablement which is goal-directed and time-limited interventions to support their recovery.”

The CHSP, which began on 1 July, is founded on a restorative approach, incorporating wellness and reablement, that is to be embedded at all levels of the program, including assessment, support planning and service delivery.

Ms Boylan encouraged providers to closely examine service outcomes and service use as the program rolls out. “It’s up to us to help consumers invest in their health and recovery, so that there is not growing dependency on services.”

She said the benefits of a healthy ageing and restorative focus will likely see a reduced burden of resources on the health system.

Ms Boylan encapsulates the change in thinking for community service providers in the following terms:

Jo Boylan

Jo Boylan will be presenting on implementing a wellness approach at the ‘Implementing the Commonwealth Home Support Programme’ conference in Sydney on 18-19 August. Quote the code CC*AAA when registering to save an additional $100 off the current price.

Community Care Review is the conference media partner.

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