master class

Insights from the Experts: Home Care in Retirement Living

Over the past two weeks, the DCM Institute hosted a Masterclass on Home Care in Retirement Living.

The webinar featured home care experts, Kylie Johnson from Living Choice, and Beverly Smith from myHomecare. The feedback from attendees was that the conversations had couldn’t have been more-timely, and when you look at the numbers it’s easy to see why.

According to PWC’s Retirement Living Census, the average age of residents within our villages is 81. We talk and write regularly around Dementia, with three out of every 10 Australians over the age of 80 living with a diagnosis. Research suggests there are many more undiagnosed.

Across the country we have Aged Care operators commending their facilities are full – and no more are being built.

The Home Care Packages Data Report (November 2023) suggests that as of 30 September 2023, there had been a 13% increase in people who had access to a Home Care Package (HCP) over the 12-month period. What’s more, there are an additional 31,500 waiting without

The numbers paint a picture that Village Managers are dealing with every day. Home Care is now part of our value proposition. The conversation on DCM Institute’s webinar came down to the types of models that are currently in the market, and what Managers can be doing to help residents remain independent and well in the safety of their retirement village home.

Equipping Village Managers with Essential Tools

“It’s about giving Village Managers that toolkit,” remarked Kylie, emphasising the importance of arming Managers with the necessary resources to support residents in their home care journey.

Kylie spoke about partnering with service providers in your local area health network to ensure Managers are having informed conversations with residents. This will then allow Village Managers to guide residents and their families effectively, promoting safety and independence as they age.

Establishing Strategic Partnerships

Beverly drew on her extensive experience with myHomecare, and previously Australian Unity where she was the Executive General Manager of their Retirement Living portfolio.

“Integrated models or long-term partnerships with home care providers are crucial,” she noted. These partnerships can be established at a local village level, or at a corporate level for larger operators. Regardless of the approach, Beverly advocated that a strategic partnership for those who do not provide home care as a service will ensure consistent and reliable support for residents and enhance the overall value proposition of the village community.

Leveraging My Aged Care as a Gateway

“My Aged Care is the National gateway into the Aged Care system,” highlighted Kylie.

By registering and exploring available resources on the platform, residents and Village Managers can gain valuable insights and access tailored support options.

Addressing Challenges in Accessing Timely Care

Acknowledging the challenges faced by residents in accessing timely care, Kylie highlighted lengthy wait times for assessments and approval of home care packages. It was noted that wait times can be up to 9 months for those with a Level 3 HCP.

Village Managers can play a proactive role, Kylie encouraged, through collaborating with family members, carers, discharge planners and case managers to expedite assessments, especially for high-priority cases.

Empowering Residents with Accurate Information

Beverly emphasised the importance of educating residents about their care options.

“Individualised advice is crucial,” she advised. By providing accurate information, Village Managers empower residents to make informed decisions about their care without unnecessary hesitation.

File Notes

The most challenging issue faced by Village Managers is when a resident’s health is deteriorating, and this is not being recognised or supported by family or loved ones. It was recommended by both Kylie and Beverly that Village Managers should take the time to keep quality ‘file notes’ – a simple record of what has been observed over a period of time.

Be Pro-active, collaborative and well informed.

The main take away from the webinar was the need for Village Professionals to be proactive in taking the time to understand the different care models, how to navigate systems like My Aged Care, and fostering partnerships with home care providers.

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