Choice & Control – What This Means for Disability Care in Australia
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
Disability Services in Australia is experiencing major reform. The reform mainly centres around giving participants ‘choice and control’ in the planning and implementation of their care and support services. Previously, disability services were formally structured and provided very little individualised options or choice in lifestyle or care. Services were Government funded in ‘block funding’ which was given to the Approved Care Provider who then made the decision to allocate the funds to their clients as they saw fit, rather than having individual funding be allocated for each client. The new reforms attempt to address this.
The Federal Government understands it, the State Government understands it, the Industry CEOs understand it, but do the frontline staff and consumers understand it? Acts, guidelines, policies and procedures (compliance) have accommodated the reforms drive towards ‘choice and control’. However, this still needs to translate to sufficient changes in behaviour, language and documents to actualise the concept. So what is choice?
Choice is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “The act of choosing between two or more possibilities”. In Disability Services, examples of the application choice is:
- Choosing what day and time you want your service, not what slots are available with your service provider;
- Choosing one service for your case manager and another service providing for your in home care, not just accepting the one allocated to you;
- Choosing to buy one product from your preferred supplier rather than the service providers panel of providers or network;
- Choosing to not have a shower today;
- Choosing social activities that you want to participate in;
- Choosing whether or not you want to participate in any activities today;
- Choosing your carer as well as your care provider
Unfortunately due to the previous funding of disability services, choice was limited due to block funding arrangements. With the changes brought on by the National Disability Insurance Scheme there is increasing choice on how and when to receive support services for participants who are registered in the scheme. The intentions are there but service providers will need some time to make the required infrastructure and business process changes to support the reforms of ‘choice and control’.
DR Care Solutions advocates for clients to utilise the right of choice and provides support through a privately funded role in identifying and finding suitable Disability Care Service Providers. We assess the client’s current care and social needs ‘holistically’ and match them with the most appropriate provider. A choice of three providers is always given. One thing we do really well is listen to our clients. We understand all their needs, their wants and wishes, which is a far cry from what was previously occurring.
We tailor the care to suit the clients needs and obtain the best outcome for them. For more information, please feel free to contact Danielle Robertson at DR Care solutions.