Home' Community Care Review : CCR Jan-Feb 2015 Contents Wouldn't you rather refer your clients to an alarm service
answered by qualified nurses?
Our LifeGuard L-401 Dialler personal alarm
system allows for amazing quality two-way,
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The fact that all alarms are handled by qualiﬁed nurses
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We're a contracted
provider for the
providers to find an agency that fits their individual needs and
wishes. Responding to "enquiries" rather than "referrals" takes a
new approach to the client intake process. There's now a marketing
aspect to dealing with enquiries that hasn't been there in the past.
As one experienced service manager put it: "Intake staff must be
able to clearly articulate the benefits and points of difference of
their service." If they can't do this, potential clients will simply call
the next provider on the list until they find an organisation that
seems to meet their needs. We can't assume that the conversion
rate for these enquiries will be similar to the pre-CDC days where
90 per cent of referrals usually ended up as an admission.
Based on our experience, the conversion rate of enquiries
may be 25 per cent or lower. If potential clients or carers
are ringing four or five agencies before committing to a
particular provider, it follows that more time will be spent
by agencies in liaising with them.
It's more than just making a few more phone calls.
Managing the ongoing interactions with clients and carers,
and closely monitoring service delivery, takes considerable
time and effort. The conversations, visits and follow-up
actions are not quick and often need the attention of more
experienced and skilled staff. From a resources and a skills
perspective, it isn't clear how well positioned most providers are to
deal with this new style of operation and the resulting workload.
It's fair to say that telephone call management and marketing
skills are not always the hallmark of community care services.
Potential clients won't want to hear the usual tidal wave of aged
care acronyms or be bamboozled by complex budget and eligibility
problems. They will want to know, in plain language, what help
you can provide and how you will work with them to do it. They
will also have increased expectations that what is promised in the
assessment and planning phase will actually be delivered. If it isn't,
they will -- or they should -- change providers.
Providers need to actively manage and monitor their
performance in this area.
New business rules
Some providers have previously split packaged care revenue across
multiple clients, i.e. they have taken on more individual clients than
the number of packages they have been allocated. This enabled
service delivery to be maximised across a larger client base and
provided a ready-made waiting list of people with an ongoing care
need who could be converted to full packages over time when
vacancies arose. It's hard to see how this practice can continue in
a CDC world where there is fully transparent financial reporting
of individual client budgets. Unspent funds will accrue for that
individual client rather than being able to be diverted to spend on
other clients, services or programs. For some providers this will be a
The financial impacts from the accrual of individual HCP funds
and the impact of returning some of the ex-client unspent funds
and co-payments needs to be well understood, particularly as
How will people spend their money?
Many older people who are used to living on a fixed income are
likely to be rather conservative in their spending choices. This will
also apply to budgeting and spending on support services at home.
A "spend the lot" approach to a HCP budget isn't likely to be seen
as prudent, particularly in the case for those people who are still
reasonably independent and at the lower end of the dependency
scale. A care plan where a client chooses to spend a lower
proportion of the available HCP budget can also potentially impact
on the level of the funds in the budget to offset administrative and
case management overheads.
What does case management mean?
In the past, a client's experience of case management has not
necessarily been one where there has been ongoing close
interaction. For some HCP Level 2 clients it has been more of a
"set and forget" approach where they meet the case manager in the
assessment and planning phase, and then don't hear from
them again until months down the track, or at their annual
re-assessment. Currently, the main day-to-day contact for
a client is with their direct care worker or the coordinator
who rosters direct care staff and other services, not
the case manager. This fragmented approach to client
engagement and care coordination needs a rethink and is
not likely to work in the future.
Show me the money, show me the value
We've all experienced bill shock over electricity, bank
or telecommunication charges. Under CDC every client
will receive a monthly report outlining their income, categorised
costs for the month and funds balance. The family and carers are
also likely to run their eyes over the report. Charges for service
and support, administration, case management and advisory
services will be visible and open to criticism. In this era of financial
transparency it could be difficult to convince clients that the case
management, advisory and administrative charges on their monthly
report are justified, particularly if there's not been regular contact >
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