Implementing Consumer Directed Care in Australian Residential Aged Care

By: Marita Mc Cabe  

In Australia, Consumer Directed Care (CDC) has been widely implemented in the community aged care sector. In residential aged care facilities (RACFs), person centered care models have been adopted. However, there has been a move towards CDC in RACFs in recent years. This paper presents an evaluation of a program training staff to implement CDC in RACFs. It presents information on the program and the facilitators and barriers identified in relation to implementing CDC. Staff (n=150) and residents (n=142) were recruited from nine RACFs in Australia. The program focused on improving communication between residents and staff so the true preferences of residents could be determined. It also encouraged shared leadership and helped staff determine the organisational changes needed to implement CDC in their facility. Data were gathered from staff on the facilitators and barriers to implementing CDC. From the beginning of the program to three months follow-up there were improvements in resident quality of life and their sense of choice and control. The barriers were RACF culture, resources required to implement CDC and communication between other staff and residents. Facilitators of CDC included staff supporting each other, respect and clear processes. Implications: The implementation of CDC in RACFs leads to an improvement in resident lives. However, educating staff on CDC and obtaining resident choices is not sufficient. There is a need for significant changes in staff empowerment, time management and communication. This is a process that will take some time to achieve.

Mental and Spiritual Wellbeing, Quality of Life, Residential Aged Care
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Marita Mc Cabe

Research Professor, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia