Care Forward is a division of Care Assessment Consultants Pty Ltd, and provides services under the Home Support Programme (Cwlth and State) and the Home Care Packages Program, across Tasmania. With the motto, “working toward your wellness,” this new and separate trading name launched on 15 June 2015 is focusing on the following points of difference in service delivery:
- Continually working towards our clients’ wellness, through reablement and restorative care.
- Consumer informed as well as consumer directed care.
- Goal-based care planning that continually moves with our consumers’ changing needs and desires.
- Pro-active and preventative care including home health services.
We don’t want to merely ‘care for’ our consumers; we want to fully involve them at the centre of decision-making, empowering them to move their care forward in the direction they want and need it to go.
Care Forward employs a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals with staff across each of Tasmania’s three regions, mostly registered nurse care managers and care coordinators, enhanced by a team of allied health professionals and a subcontracted workforce of over 40 service provider organisations.
Commencing operations in 1999, the company began managing Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) in 2011, with 3 packages for the Derwent Valley (Rural Southern Tasmania). Since then the organisation has been successful in both the 2013 and 2014 ACARs and has been allocated a further 63 packages across all three regions and at all 4 levels.
Everyone was very excited and willing to embrace everything that CDC represents as CDC is very closely aligned with the way we already operated in three key ways:
- Commencing originally as an assessment and care coordination organisation which already brokered to numerous service deliverers in the region, we could provide a range of choices to consumers with no requirement to restructure our business model.
- Secondly, CDC aligns with the company’s longstanding organisational mission, values and philosophy of care. All Care Forward programs incorporate a wellness approach which aims to maintain optimal independence for our consumers.
- Thirdly, the organisation has a history of adopting holistic and innovative approaches to care which aim to increase the independent functioning of older people. As such, the organisation was extremely well positioned to deliver the highest quality Consumer Directed Care packages.
With this in mind, the organisation commenced delivery of consumer directed care from August 2013 using a progressive tiered model focusing on wellness, consumer independence and capacity building. The tiered model of CDC allows for consumers to reduce the proportion of individualised budget that is allocated for care coordination as they increasingly take control of their own care. Our existing CACPS were transitioned to this CDC model by August 2014.
Although we knew that CDC aligned with our model and philosophy and our staff were well prepared to deliver CDC, the practical application of CDC has definitely thrown up some challenges, particularly around the communication of information on budgets, client contributions and allowances and developing administrative processes that facilitate timely reporting of monthly statements. To meet these challenges we adopted a flexible approach that involved frequent consultation with care coordinators, team leaders and consumers to assist in developing tools that are effective and easy to use. This approach is ongoing and we continue to review, adapt and change in response to suggestions, team discussions, consultation and external training opportunities.
The most gratifying element for everyone involved in the implementation of the CDC model has been the demonstrable difference it makes to the clients. The feedback has demonstrated that consumers become more empowered in their own decision making and are willing to take more control of their package. Several of our consumers and their carers have progressed to the highest tier of self-management and readily report on their activity and progress. Our coordinators work with consumers to achieve their goals, and whilst that may sometimes include a general improvement in the well-being of the client, CDC can includes empowering consumers to take control of their own palliation. For example, despite being in the end stage of a terminal condition, one of our consumers had no end of life strategies in place prior to transitioning to a CDC package. The package enabled him to take control of his own end of life planning, prepare his family and home and be comfortable in the knowledge that his choices would be respected.
In addition to the positive impacts, consumers and staff are becoming more creative in their thinking around their choices and strategies to achieve goals. Some of the services that we have been able to deliver under CDC include dog grooming, supported op shopping, provision of iPads to facilitate family connections and arranging regular visits to the hairdresser.
We believe that it is crucial to acknowledge that every consumer has life experience and brings a unique set of stories, history, desires, needs, issues and challenges to each package. There is no single magic formula for every consumer rather a process of listening, communicating, action, review and adaptation in response to individual choices.
A key factor in Care Forward’s approach to CDC is also working with a wide range of subcontractors, specialist providers, training organisations, peak bodies and representative groups such as COTA and the ACST to build relationships, broaden our experience, provide true choice for consumers, build staff skills and actively engage with all stakeholders in the aged care sector.
For more information please visit www.careforward.com.au