KinCare began in Parramatta in 1992 and started with 16 clients. Now KinCare provides national coverage (except the Northern Territory) that supports 12,000 people and assists them to remain living independently in their own homes. They are funded to deliver 1,900 Home Care Packages and have grown to employ 1600 staff. KinCare now have three streams of care that include aged care, disability and a health stream.
The immediate impacts of personalising our care through Consumer Directed Care (CDC) has meant that KinCare are now servicing an increasing number of unique client requests such as teaching clients to Skype family members, helping plan vegetable gardens, setting up online accounts for grocery shopping and planning social calendars to name just a few.
In speaking with Wendy Hill (Manager of Ageing for KinCare) it is clear that the organisation believes that CDC is a natural progression for a maturing aged care sector with its important focus on facilitating greater choice and flexibility for consumers. Wendy highlights that “We were excited about the concept of CDC and its underlying principles. We love the focus on the consumer, with a commitment to understanding their goals and what is important to them. We were also pleased about CDC’s emphasis on recognising and nurturing existing relationships and support networks, both formal and informal.”
With this approach in the forefront of their minds, it was in 2011 that KinCare started its focus on CDC with an ACAR application for the CDC pilot. Even through the application was unsuccessful, the process allowed us to start thinking about what CDC would mean for our consumers and what we would need to do to become CDC ready.
As a young organisation it recognised the need for continuous organisational cultural adaptation and then also conducted focus groups and surveys of consumers, management and the workforce to identify a comprehensive way forward.
The challenges have created opportunities for two key areas in particular and they were:
- Education and empowerment of consumers and staff. This has needed to run together. Through embedding the principles of CDC with staff, they are now more capable of being flexible, agile and responsive to consumer requests. The education and coaching of consumers has been critical as we have actively involved them in goal setting, budgeting and resource allocation that has had a strong co-design focus.
- Importantly, system development has needed to occur side by side with our change management approach. An example of the system change has meant that we have tracked individual spending; this has incorporated staff costs, brokerage, consumables, equipment and technology.
In 2014 KinCare downloaded the Home Care Today organisational assessment tool for validation of their model and confirmation they were meeting government expectations. Participation in the Co-Production in Practice workshop with Madeline Cooper-Ueki presented another valuable opportunity for KinCare to refine their model and keep their focus on the consumer.
In conclusion, Wendy highlighted that an organisational approach to the change management requirements must be supported by strong leadership and a shared vision across the organisation. In addition to this remaining grounded through communicating with key stakeholders early and regularly and having a continuous improvement focus for an evolving organisation have helped to make sure they are ready for July the 1st and beyond.