On a Journey of Aged Care Reform – Reflections from South Australia

By Sue McKechnie (Guest Post)

Sue McKechnie, Executive Manager of Community Services at Resthaven Incorporated in Adelaide, South Australia shares insights about the changing aged care system in South Australia.

‘The Australian aged care system is undergoing substantial legislative reform and major policy change. The aim is to improve consumer engagement and choice, with a ‘consumer-directed’ model of service delivery, along with individualised consumer service budgets.’

‘The vocabulary is expanding as terminology such as ‘co-design’ and ‘co-production’ are being used in policy and program development. Further enhancing how we integrate these concepts in our service models is a current focus.’

‘To operate successfully in the reformed, deregulated system, substantial leadership, organisational culture change and business model adaptation is required.’

‘The complexity of the current system and the changes due to aged care reform continue to make it difficult for older people to understand, plan for and access aged care when they need it. In future, more consumers, families and carers can be more proactive in preparing for their future needs.’

‘The aged care reform process has prompted Resthaven to look ahead and review our business models to ensure they reflect our mission and purpose and promote consumer engagement.’

‘Our model of service delivery, linked to working with people in both home care and residential care, supports wellness, independence and choice.’

‘Healthy ageing is inherent in our approach to service delivery. Resthaven offers self-management programs for people with chronic degenerative conditions and individual approaches are ‘co-designed’ to meet specific needs.’

‘We work together with older people and their carers to support them maintain independence and quality in their daily lives, in their particular circumstance. They are supported in their choices and have control of the decisions about when and where support is needed.’

‘We are reframing how we view quality and demonstrate a quality service in a consumer directed environment.’

‘Early intervention, accepting responsibility for personal wellness, nutrition, lifestyle, relationships with primary healthcare networks, ongoing connection with their local neighbourhood and community, is an important aspect of healthy ageing and active contributions to society.’

‘As these policy and practice directions are relatively new, we are seeking to understand how this affects important relationships between primary healthcare providers, state government health services and aged care.’

‘In the Australian context, there is also a policy shift to a greater emphasis on a user pays approach to government funded services. This requires individuals with capacity to contribute to the cost of their care to do so. We support this approach, which requires a social cultural attitude shift over the longer term.’

‘Increasingly, older people will be encouraged to pay for their services outside of government support. This also has impact for the changing dynamics of the competitive service operating environment in an area which has historically been a focus for the not for profit sector.’

‘We live in interesting times.’

Established in 1935, Resthaven works together with older people and their carers to provide outstanding care and support. Every day, the organization shares the lives and wisdom of more than 10,000 older people living in South Australia.

Join us in Montreux, Switzerland this September to learn more about aged care reform in Australia the shift towards more consumer directed service models.

 

About the Author

Sue McKechnie
Sue McKechnie is a Registered Nurse with broad experience within the health and aged care industry. She is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing, and Associate Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management. Sue is currently Executive Manager, Resthaven Community Services, responsible for home and centre-based support for approximately 8,500 older people across metropolitan Adelaide and country South Australia. She leads a division of 500 staff. In 2016, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency recognised Resthaven with a Better Practice Award. In 2013, Sue was recognised by the Board of Aged and Community Services South Australia with a Contribution to Industry award. She is a member of a number of groups advising government about aged care. Sue is also a member of the South Australian Premier’s Women’s Directory promoting leadership and mentoring for women.

Sue will be presenting the session entitled “Consumer Directed Services Using Co-Production Principles” at the Global Ageing Conference in Montreux, Switzerland.

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