‘Value for money’: the impact of transitions to consumer-directed care for older people with complex mental health needs

‘Value for money’: the impact of transitions to consumer-directed care for older people with complex mental health needs

The transition to consumer-directed care in the aged care sector from July 2013 heralds a new level of transparency and accountability in the delivery of services, which will have implications for almost all areas of community services.

Much like consumers of any other product or service, aged care consumers will be empowered to ask for a quote, and expect an itemised account demonstrating value for money. This presents a challenge not only for the subsequent practice changes required for implementation, but specifically for those older Australians who experience mental health difficulties. Where previously organisations were able to massage funds across a range of clients and provide higher levels of support to those with greater need, now packages will be finite.

Critical to the success of a transition to consumer-directed care will be an organisation’s ability to foster the necessary shifts in power between consumer and service provider, whilst maintaining a balance between dignity of risk and duty of care. Given the complexity of older people who commonly face multiple issues including dementia and physical disabilities, how will organisations ensure that quality care is provided through consumer-directed care, without leaving those with a mental illness out in the cold?

Care Connect is a leading national community care organisation that is developing innovative approaches to improving levels of support, ensuring value for money and supporting person-centred recovery, through their My Life, My Choice, My Way™ service model.  Join Care Connect for an exploration into the benefits and challenges of implementing consumer-directed care and some of the potential drawbacks of this new development in service accountability from the perspective of a growing, not-for-profit organisation.

Rachel Green is the recently appointed Director, Mental Health Services at Care Connect, one of Australia’s leading secular community care providers. She spoke to delegates at the Association's International Mental Health Conference in 2013.

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