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Overcoming language barriers to implement CDC

Franco Parenti, Resthaven Western Community Services manager, explains some of the challenges faced when transitioning 107 older people receiving Home Care Packages to delivery on a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) basis.
Resthaven client, Theodore Sabatini, assisted by Resthaven Western Community Services manager, Franco Parenti, to use the ‘Ciao’ App.

"A key element of our CDC approach has been to ensure that we respond to each individual's particular needs and choices, working together to achieve this," Mr Parenti says.

About 30% of Resthaven Western Community Services clients are from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background, with the majority Italian.

"Language barriers made the implementation of CDC more complex, and staff were very mindful of the hazards of misunderstanding and the distrust this might create," he says.

Resthaven Western Community Services, located in Western metropolitan Adelaide, provides a range of in-home care and support for older people and respite for their carers.

It has 230 active clients, of whom 160 receive in home support services, and 70 participate in centre based activities.

Staff average 2,300 home visits per month, travelling about 11,500 kilometres around western metropolitan Adelaide. Out of the 54 staff, 26 are bilingual.

"The complex CDC terminology was difficult to translate. For example, the word ‘budget,’ has no equivalent Italian translation. To address this, staff engaged client advocates, and professional interpreters, wherever possible," he says.

To ensure clients did not feel ‘pressured’ or ‘rushed’ into the decision making process, Mr Parenti says staff also gave clients extra time to "fully digest" information, often holding discussions over three or four weeks before implementation.

"Resthaven Western Community Services is proactive in breaking down the barriers created by language difficulties, as exemplified by their involvement with the launch of the free ‘Ciao’ Italian translation app, which provides common words and phrases, images, pronunciation tips and sound files," he says.

The app was officially launched in April by Comitato Assistenza Agli Italiani Italian Assistance Association – CO.AS.IT. (SA).

"Like many other ‘change management’ stories, the implementation of CDC with Resthaven’s CALD clients was a challenging process. Despite this, almost all of Resthaven community services clients now receive home care packages under CDC, with the last few clients planned for transition before the government deadline of 1 July 2015," he says.


While CDC began being implemented across Australia yesterday as part of the federal government aged care reforms, Resthaven clients have reportedly been offered Home Care Packages on a CDC model for several years.


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