Home' Community Care Review : CCR Aug 2016 Contents SPONSORED FEATURE
with clients. This was particularly important with more experienced
staff who "carried the rulebook in their head", says McKechnie.
"There are very traditional ways of delivering services which
always make the assumption that the service provider is the expert.
What we were having staff work through is the idea that people are
experts in their own life and what works for them.
"That doesn't diminish the role of the service co-coordinator,
but it changes it -- to be much more about helping people achieve
what they want to achieve, rather than the service provider taking a
considered view about what would be best."
One early challenge was getting staff to trust in older people to
make sound decisions for themselves, says McKechnie.
This is a universal issue for the sector, she says, noting the
most common types of questions raised at industry forums on
CDC and co-design continue to concern provider responsibility
and duty of care.
"When we see family members who are being very cautious or
restrictive, we'll describe them as being overprotective. But then
when service providers do exactly the same thing, they tend to call
it duty of care."
McKechnie points to the notion of dignity of risk, and says staff
must facilitate their clients having autonomy over their lives, and
respect that they are capable of learning new things and defining
their aspirations, regardless of limitations or age.
"It is about giving people the room to move, and accepting that
people will modify their decisions over time if they learn that they
need to adjust them. Otherwise, the potential is you're placing
barriers or unnecessary safeguards around people."
McKechnie says Resthaven has also spent time working with
staff to underscore that as the marketplace becomes increasingly
competitive customer service will become more important than
"When it comes to customer service, the details matter," she
says. This means finding out from clients not only what they would
like, but how they want it delivered. It's about following through on
what is promised, and that changes to delivery -- such as a different
staff member -- are clearly communicated.
"For people who have high needs for
personal care, for example, it comes down
to the details about how they like to be
supported when they're having a shower,
how they like to dress, what times they like
things to happen," she says.
As well as staff training, Resthaven
has also invested heavily in consultation
with consumers and community
advisory groups to test and simplify its
CDC systems for ease of use. This has
led to more plain English versions of
agreements and simpler and easier to
follow client budget statements, that
are also easier for translation purposes
when working with people of diverse
A SPECIAL RETREAT
THE SHED at Hersey Respite Cottage, run through
Resthaven Community Respite Services, continues to grow
The popular program recently moved into a new, larger
shed area, to the delight of participants.
Projects the groups have been involved in include
propagating plants for Trees for Life, and making raised
garden beds from recycled pallets, donated by a local carpet
store, amongst many others.
"The program is continually growing, with more members
joining all the time," says Manager of Community Respite
Services, Carole Matthews.
"To meet demand, we recently increased the program to
four days a week.
"This is a great program, which really benefits people. We
look forward to continuing it into the future."
In another community initiative, Resthaven has been
working with the University of Queensland to improve
the social connection of remotely located clients in
the Riverland. As part of the Commonwealth-funded
Community Visitors Scheme, clients are being taught
how to use an iPad to open up a whole new world of
communication and engagement.
PARTNERS IN RESEARCH
RESTHAVEN is a partner in two Australian Research Council
linkage grants that are exploring aspects of consumer
The first, with Flinders University, has been underway
since 2012. The project has focused on economic evaluations
of CDC. These cost profiles, how clients are deploying their
funds, as well as the impact of CDC on quality of life.
A second project is also underway with the University of
South Australia looking at the broader aspects of choice and
what it means for older people.
Sue McKechnie, Executive Manager of Community
Services, says it's important for Resthaven to be connected
to research as it adds a strength and rigour to practice.
"It adds an evidence base, the opportunity for us to
explore international trends, and contribute to the growing
international body of understanding in relation to co-
production, consumer choice, quality and how that applies
to services for older people," she says.
Reg Hall and Home Support Worker, Ian, hard at work.
24 | AUGUST 2016
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