The care manager’s role is going to involve more clinical oversight once the home care sector reforms come into play, a sector insider has told Community Care Review.
“It’s going to be a specialised area. It’s not just about having background knowledge of a social worker or a registered nurse – it’s about understanding geriatric conditions. And also the linkage between geriatric conditions so you can actually have some prediction on the care needs going forward,” said Steve Neal – head of clinical and leadership programs for aged care consultants LPA.
He added: “It might not be required that we’ll need every single care manager to have to have a clinical qualification – that’s just not a practicality – but there may have to be a clinical person that can be referred to within an organisation.”
Providers will need to structure their client assessment process in a way that enables non-clinicians to be able to ask the right questions said Mr Neal “and be led down a path towards the right referral process or the right information-sharing process. That’s how care management will change – that’s going to be the biggest, fundamental change.”
Providers will also need to know the risks and vulnerabilities of their clients, said Mr Neal. “How do you assess those risks and vulnerabilities and then how do you mitigate those risks with the customers to try and make sure they’re safe.”
Mr Neal told CCR there will also need to be greater awareness of who is involved in the provision of the client’s care.
“Whether that’s the next-door neighbour taking out the bins, or the daughter coming round to do the medication. Who is the GP, what are the clinical services they’re getting, and who has that role? So the care manager of the future becomes a project manager – making sure that they know who is in that village and who is providing that support in that village for that person so that there is no confusion as to what is going on.”
CCR spoke with Mr Neal at an industry training event hosted by LPA in Sydney this week. The two-day workshop – called Providing Clinical Care and Care Management in the Home – is designed to walk providers through the myriad of changes that are taking place within the sector.
Whilst the home care reforms – due to kick in from July 2025 – are varied and complex, Mr Neal said providers are gradually becoming more prepared for the change of landscape. “They’re getting there. The change of standards, the change of the Aged Care Act, the reform process – especially the governing reform process – are starting to wake a lot of the providers up.”
Mr Neal told CCR that those providers who aren’t prepared for the reforms will need to begin structuring their businesses accordingly. “It’s coming; it’s going to happen.”
Some of the changes are already here said Mr Neal. “The SIRS has kicked off; improved payments have kicked off a bit. But now there are fundamental changes on the way, which is why people have to structure their organisations and this has therefore started to make that change real.”
Community Care Review is a media partner of LPA’s national workshop series Providing Clinical Care and Care Management in the Home