When introduced to us, 95-year old Lucille* was still in hospital, though eager to return to her busy life as an artist, theatre-lover and art gallery visitor.

The introduction to DR Care Solutions came through Lucille's nephew. he was her only living relative and he held a high profile position in the public service.

DR Care Solutions In-Home Aged Care Case Study: Returning to Independent Living at 95

The Problem

Having lived independently all of her life in a large home - with many steps, both front and back - Lucille was keen to return home and to her previous life as quickly as possible after ankle surgery. However, she was unable to weight bear and too frail to use crutches.

Prior to the fall and fracture, she was cognitively quite sharp but was not preparing or eating nutritious meals and having difficulty maintaining her home, inside and out.

In this scenario:

  • There was no formal care or support services and no government funding in place.

  • After extensive rehabilitation and an extended stint in respite to get her mobilised, she was ready to return home.

  • Her home required minor modifications to allow her to remain at home.

  • The nephew did not want his aunt to return home without the support and assistance of others.

  • Lucille needed to curtail her walking and use of public transport into the city due to her injury.

The Care Solution

DR Care Solutions was engaged and within two weeks, DR Care Solutions:

  • Completed a comprehensive care needs assessment of the client while she was still in hospital, before rehabilitation and respite.

  • Developed a Life PlanTM with clear recommendations on what could be implemented to enable her to return home safely.

  • Established that Lucille preferred to pay for 'fee for service' homecare as she needed to commence services immediately and there were long waits for government-funded services.

  • Introduced a quality HomeCare Provider, registered as an Approved Aged Care Provider.

  • Oversaw the services of the HomeCare Provider as they introduced a team of suitably matched carers based on the description of Lucille's ideal carers as outlined in her Life PlanTM.

  • Commenced 24-hour care, seven days a week for a month. After the first month, the level of care was reviewed and the hours were reduced to 12 hours a day for a further month. After a further review, care and support continued every second day for several hours each day, to transition the client back to independence.

  • Organised a personal alarm with 'falls detection' and GPS tracking.

The Outcome

Lucille returned home from hospital with her team of quality carers in place.

During the period of intensive homecare, she was able to get her home cleaned and brought back up to scratch, inside and out.

Lucille was able to shop with her carers and choose the food she wanted prepared. And, with the supervision and support of her carers, she gradually took on tasks herself, including the taking of medications and her physiotherapy exercise routine. Lucille improved and gained strength each day.

During the period of intensive homecare, the nephew and carers observed a decline in Lucille's memory and cognition, possibly brought on by the general anaesthetic administered during ankle surgery. The longer-term care solution was to continue the care and supervision every second day. This level of care would ensure that her home was clean, she had showered and nutritious meals were eaten. Lucille resumed her painting and cultural activities.

Lucille's nephew was relieved, knowing that his aunt was now well cared for. He had previously had to place his parents in residential aged care and was keen to meet his aunt's desire to remain at home for as long as possible.

During her weekly dinners with her nephew, he says she continues to express how pleased she is to be living at home.

* Names have been changed to protect the identity and privacy of subjects.

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