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DPS already at forefront of informing and educating consumers on aged care options

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has commented on the lack of information available to consumers when searching for aged care options, however, one Adelaide business has been successful doing exactly that.

CEO Michelle Beech says DPS print and online resources deliver the power of informed choice. [Source: DPS]

Australia’s leading independent multiplatform media company, DPS, has been providing consumers with invaluable information about care options available and how to access them, as well as connecting consumers to providers that best meet their needs, for more than 22 years.

DPS Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Beech, says the organisation has a long history of providing aged care information and is often referred to as the ‘Bible of Aged Care’.

“DPS provides the gateway to connect senior Australians with aged care providers through our industry-leading suite of resources including the DPS Guide to Aged Care,, and dedicated Home Care and Your Retirement Living magazines,” she explains.

“Our innovative approach is changing the way Australians make decisions about the care they would like to receive, by delivering the power of informed choice.”

In its interim report released last week, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety called the Government online portal My Aged Care and contact centre as “costly” adding that it “has failed to provide adequate information to people about aged care and how to access it”.

The report adds that there are limitations of online portals in providing information and support for the current generation of older people who may not have access to a computer or don’t feel comfortable navigating the internet. 

“DPS offers a combination of print and online resources making the information accessible to the older generation that may prefer to read information in print, as well as computer literate people who know their way around an online environment,” Ms Beech says.

“Through our affiliate program we have connected with peak bodies such as Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), Council on the Ageing (COTA) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), to ensure consumers are better informed when making care choices, as well as opening up the conversation between consumers and providers to create an increasingly transparent aged care sector.”

The Royal Commission’s Interim Report also referenced research from consumer peak body National Seniors Australia highlighting that increasing people’s knowledge about the aged care system and clarifying the process of accessing services is an important element of changing the public image of aged care, adding that “the first contact most people have with the aged care system is when they are searching for information”.

Ms Beech says “At DPS we really understand how consumers seek, absorb and use information. We did extensive user research back in 2017 and found that it is often not until a crisis happens that people start looking for information.

“We pride ourselves on providing clear, transparent, easy to understand and informative content to assist our readers through their, often confusing, aged care journey.

“This is highlighted as an ideal situation for aged care by the Royal Commission, but very few aged care services have been able to deliver.

“In some instances, aged care is described as difficult to navigate and confusing, and it very well can be, which is why DPS does all it can to provide the right information to make aged care a little less confusing.”

Placed in the hands of those who need to make aged care decisions for themselves or a loved one through a broad range of distributors, including the Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT), hospital discharge planners, social workers and local councils, the resources are free for consumers.

“As an independent private company, DPS prides itself on presenting consumers with the most up to date information about residential aged care, home care, retirement living and disability support options in their area to help them make informed choices about their care,” Ms Beech says.

“The information we present in our printed guides and on our website is sourced from providers who can update their details at any time. Prior to printing an updated edition of our DPS Guide to Aged Care, we contact every provider listed in our publication asking them to review the information presented in our resources and advise us of any changes so we can update the information accordingly.” 

She explains that the DPS Guides provide information about local services and is part of the Government supported System Navigator trial which delivers face-to-face services to navigate the system and connect people to services.

“Consumers interacting with organisations that are part of the Systems Navigator trial have access to a free copy of the DPS Guide to further understand what is involved when searching for aged care and find a provider near them using the directory tables of aged care services that’s included in the Guide.”

DPS knows that it is not just the person requiring care that needs to navigate the system, but also their support network including partners, children, parents, carers, siblings, grandchildren and friends, according to Ms Beech.

“We work hard to ensure that no matter what the situation, the information we provide delivers value, and we continue to evolve our offerings as the needs of consumers change.

“Our organisation was built on the passion and drive to help older Australians and their families find appropriate care services,” Ms Beech says. 

“It is our mission to produce content that assists people to navigate all the care options available to them and to help them make better decisions, in what is often an emotional and stressful time for everybody involved.” 

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