Consumer Directed Care is the most significant change the Government has made to the funding of in-home care in decades. Not enough people know about it and not enough people are benefiting…..yet.
So what is Consumer Directed Care?
It is an approach to the planning and management of care that empowers consumers and carers to influence the design and delivery of the services they receive. It allows you to exercise a greater degree of choice in what services are delivered, where and when they are delivered. This means, that providers are required to:
- Have conversations with you about your care needs and personal goals
- Work with you to co-produce care plans
- Provide greater transparency to you about what funding is available under your package and how those funds are spent
- Agree with you the level of involvement you will have in managing your package, and
- Conduct ongoing monitoring and a formal reassessment to ensure that the package continues to be appropriate for you.
Five Good Friends is a new and modern in-home care service that wants to help you understand the changes so you can get the type of care you need and want. Our team of Care Advisors have been assisting people to understand the changes and helping them improve their care and increase their hours of help in the home. As a result of our conversations we have collated five key points that we hope will help you benefit from Consumer Directed Care.
As of February this year all Home Care Packages became 100% portable.
Simply put, you can choose who you want to deliver your care and move to them. Sadly, many people are persisting with care they are not happy with, you don’t have to anymore, because you can choose. You are now in control.
Providers do not own the packages or dollars, the individual does.
‘Approved Providers’ use to be allocated Packages by the Government through a bidding process. People were independently assessed through the ACAT process and told what level of package (1- 4) they qualified for. These people would then have to ring around Providers to see if they had matching packages available. This disjointed approach meant many were left taking a lower level package from a Provider that they didn’t necessarily want to use. We have heard this story over and over again.
You are now in control of the dollars and can get the care and help you want even if that means using a number of different Providers at the same time. Your first priority should be to ensure you are receiving the right amount of help and care you need.
You can not lose a package once you are eligible and it has been allocated to you.
Sadly, we are hearing stories of Care Providers telling people who want to change to another provider that they will lose their Government funding. This is not true. Once you have a Package, it’s yours. Use it wisely and ensure you get the help and care you want and deserve.
You can change Providers without any financial penalty.
The changes in funding do have the provision for Providers to charge ‘exit fees’. Such a fee can only be deducted from a person’s package if they have a surplus. If you do want to change, ask for a statement of your package and understand if there are any monies unspent before agreeing to an exit fee. You should also check your current Home Care Agreement to see if there is a provision to charge an exit fee. If not, then you can move without any financial penalty.
Funding and choice are one part of the solution.
The change in funding puts the consumer in control. This was done by the Government to encourage new solutions and organisations with modern models of care to enter the market. The Government wants to foster ‘good’ and much needed innovation.
We think another important area that needs to change is to include the family. In many situations, family members and friends are intimately and lovingly involved in helping and providing care. These people are often excluded from the current processes and deserve to be kept informed and in touch. If you are organising care for a loved one make sure you find a provider who understands this.
Consumer Directed Care is a much needed change. Please make sure you understand what you are now eligible for and ensure you are getting the help and care you need. You deserve to have care that is delivered in a manner and way you like. Use this information to ensure your help and care services are fitting around you and your life – not the other way around. Make sure the family is not shut out of the communication loop and decision making process.
We know it’s a big decision to consider changing your care. If you want to know more about Consumer Directed Care or would like to know if Five Good Friends can help please call us on 1300 789 581.