Resistance from consumers and a lack of financial incentives are some of the major barriers facing the widespread adoption of wellness and reablement approaches in the home care sector, a national review has found.

The review, commissioned by the Department of Health and undertaken by consultancy firm Nous Group, involved surveys, workshops and focus groups with over 1,200 participants.

A summary of the results of the 2017 review was published on the health department’s website last week.

While there was strong support for wellness and reablement, these approaches were not yet deeply embedded in the sector and adoption varied across organisations and service-types, it found.

Providers in the review, especially smaller organisations, expressed concern over a lack of incentives to transition their approach considering the time and costs involved.

Clear guidelines and incentives would support greater consistency in the delivery of wellness and reablement services, the report said.

The review found consumers were the least prepared part of the sector and feared having their services taken away, especially in the context of waiting lists and high demand for community care.

“Consumers often expect to receive the services to which they are ‘entitled,’ and perceive ‘independence’ as a euphemism for no services,” the report said.

“If wellness and reablement approaches are to be embedded, addressing the attitudes and concerns of consumers and carers will be critical.”

Peer and social networks were most effective in raising awareness and sharing information on these philosophies, Nous said.

Informal carers, families, community organisations and local pharmacists should all be targets for education, the report said. Local councils could also play a coordinating role to help embed services in local communities.

The report said collaboration across the sector was necessary to support uptake and create culture change.

The review recommended sharing the successes of trailblazing organisations and offering mentoring or coaching opportunities to providers.

Wellness and reablement approaches have been shown to significantly reduce or slow the rate of functional decline of older people and limit dependency on longer-term services.

Read the full report here.

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