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Consumer Directed Care research gets funding boost

More than $836,000 in partnership grant funding has been awarded to a research program for facilitating the transition to consumer directed care practice in residential aged care facilities as part of a recent National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants round.

IHA receives funding to carry out consumer directed care research (Source: Shutterstock)
IHA receives funding to carry out consumer directed care research (Source: Shutterstock)

The funding, awarded to Institute for Health and Ageing (IHA) Director Marita McCabe, will support the work of their ‘Resident at the Centre of Care’ Training Program which aims to change the way in which residential care organisations operate, putting the resident at the centre of care rather than having to fit into the structure of the facilities.

Dr McCabe has welcomed the funding success, which was announced on 27 October, but only recently been made public.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to continue our research in consumer directed care within residential care centres, which is extremely important for the wellbeing of older people,” she says.

“This type of care provides choice and control for residents, rather than their needing to fit into the routines of the aged care facility.”

The project, with the support of the funding, will address a number of identified challenges by training staff in residential aged care facilities to meet the often complex individual care needs of each care recipient, substantial regulatory burden, and mounting consumer expectations of aged care services, including consumers demanding greater choice in their care, and to be treated with dignity and have greater autonomy and independence.

Evaluation of the program has been focused on resident quality of life and satisfaction with care, aged care staff satisfaction, organisational improvements and program costs.

Dr McCabe and the research team have already recruited 45 residential aged care facilities from Queensland, NSW and Victoria to take part in the study which she says is a first in Australia and one that will inform government on consumer directed care implementation in aged care facilities, and highlight the economic costs for organisations to become ‘CDC ready’.

The 45 participating facilities will be split into three groups of 15 - as ‘training only’, ‘training plus extra support’ and a ‘care as usual’ group as part of the study.

“The program includes development of clinical skills - like communications with residents - and information gathering tools to operationalise a consumer-directed care plan,” Dr McCabe says.

“But also, importantly, [it] provides training to support organisational change and transformational leadership that will be required for the significant shift from current resident care models to consumer directed care practices into residential aged care facilities.”

She adds that the implementation of this study is only possible because of the funding, along with the contribution of the industry partners.

A broader roll-out of the program, that has already been evaluated in the pilot stage, will commence in May 2018 and conclude at the end of 2020.

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