Home' Community Care Review : CCR Jan Feb 2016 Contents R
epresentatives from two
universities, one peak body and
four aged care organisations are
developing the basis of a national system to
measure care outcomes across community
care services with the help of 26 case
managers and 600 consumer directed care
clients in New South Wales.
With demand for community care projected
to increase significantly in the coming decades,
a robust, reliable and effective system
for collecting and measuring information
on outcomes is essential, says Professor
Michael Fine, adjunct professor of sociology
at Macquarie University and lead on the
‘Ageing Well at Home: Measuring the Impact
of Community Care for Older People’ project.
The project’s primary aim is to develop,
test and validate the Australian Community
Care Outcomes Measure (ACCOM) for use
in the community aged care sector.
“Despite all the reform and restructuring
of services in recent years, there is still no
reliable measure of what the results of care
provided at home are for consumers, their
families, or for the services that support
them in their home. Nor is there any way
of comparing the outcomes achieved by
different services or innovative models of
provision,” Fine says.
The project also aims to improve the
outcomes of individuals and organisations
and across services through industry
The partnership is between Macquarie
University, University of Wollongong, service
provider organisations BaptistCare, The
Whiddon Group, KinCare, and Community
Options Australia, and peak body Aged
and Community Services NSW/ACT. It has a
two-year funding grant from the Australian
Research Council and builds on a previous
Fine is leading the project with Professor
Kathy Eagar, the director of the Australian
Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI)
at the University of Wollongong, which
already has national outcome measurement
centres for palliative care, pain and
The industry partners have been actively
involved in the development of the tool
during the first 12 months of the project
and began testing the ACCOM in December
with a range of home care clients across
metropolitan and regional NSW.
Central to the design of the tool – and a
learning from AHSRI’s outcome measurement
centres – is that the ACCOM needs to be part
of a case manager’s everyday work, says Cathy
Duncan, a research fellow at AHSRI and one
of the key researchers on the project.
“The information we are using to
measure outcomes is a by-product of the
information they are collecting to do their
care planning and review process,” Duncan
tells Community Care Review.
The ACCOM has been designed for the
Australian community care environment
and links outcomes with ongoing care
planning. It incorporates the UK’s validated
Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit
(ASCOT), which is a questionnaire for
consumers to rate care outcomes. One of its
developers, Professor Ann Netten from the
University of Kent, is also collaborating on
the Australian project.
The definitions of terms in the guidelines
have been adapted for an Australian context,
but ACCOM uses the same questions as the
ASCOT, which will also allow international
comparisons, says Duncan.
Community aged care clients complete a
paper-based ACCOM questionnaire that is
designed to monitor their progress against
the goals they set with the case manager
during care planning.
It measures care outcomes over a
number of key domains, such as control
over daily life, personal cleanliness,
comfort and safety, food and drink, social
participation, occupation, accommodation
cleanliness and comfort, and dignity.
Case managers complete an online
version of the ACCOM with the same
care outcome questions but from their
perspective, plus a functional assessment.
The functional aspects are based on
the HACC Functional Screen and include
mobility, housework, shopping, medication
management, financial management,
personal care, and, if applicable, cognition
and behavioural problems.
“There is a question after each domain
in the functional screen where the case
manager identifies whether a client needs
assistance in that area and then they
identify whether or not that domain is
Aiming for a
A research-industry collaboration is testing a new tool that links care outcomes
with the planning and review process to improve quality in home care for
individuals and across services. NATASHA EGAN reports.
10 | FEBRUARY 2016
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