Optimising In-home Care Services to Avoid Residential Aged Care Admission in Australia

By: Victoria Cornell   Amber Watt  

Broadly aligned with desires of older people, much of Australia’s current aged care policy focuses on aging-in-place. However, little is known about the types and arrangement of care and services that most effectively support older people to remain living confidently in their homes, until death should they prefer. In September 2017, Elderly Citizens Homes (ECH) commenced the EnRICH (Enabling Responsive and Individual Care at Home) pilot study. After random selection, twelve clients with various clinical and social care presentations consented to participate. Aged 71-91 years, each displayed factors that heightened their likelihood of permanent admission to residential aged care (RAC). Each participant had a single Care Manager, who enacted broadened care management activity, additional funding (where applicable) and an enhanced service suite. Quantitative investigation explored the type, cost, quantity and construction of care and services that could support someone at risk of permanent RAC admission to remain living at home. Qualitative research explored both participants’ and their carer’s: views of, and approaches to, aging; experience of care, and feelings of safety during the EnRICH trial; opinions on sustainability of care at home, gaps and potential improvements to the EnRICH model. This study discusses the qualitative element of the project, including the issues that prevented clients taking up extra services; whether carers of clients struggled more with the notion of safety; and the positive finding that the more holistic approach enacted through the trial was effective. These findings are discussed, as are implications for care-at-home policies and programs.

Public Policy, Human Rights, Health, Community Support, Diversity
Public Policy and Public Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Victoria Cornell

Research and Evaluation Manager (Home Share), Business Development, ECH, Australia

Victoria is the Research and Evaluation Manager (Home Share) at ECH, one of the largest integrated providers of retirement living accommodation and aged care services in South Australia. She is also a Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide. These roles, straddling both academic research and service-based research and development, give her a unique insight into translating research to action. Victoria is a social gerontologist, and her areas of research interest include in-home aged care service provision, community connectedness, the built environment and housing - especially alternative models of housing, and housing for vulnerable older people. Her research seeks to optimise outcomes for older people in the context of choice, independence, housing security, participation in community life and wellbeing; and improve older people's futures by ensuring their housing and aged care needs are met in tandem. Victoria's research and engagement in social gerontology has been recognised in several areas, for example journal articles, conference publications and media interviews. Victoria is a member of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG), sits on the South Australian Divisional Committee of the AAG, and is the National Convenor of the AAG's Housing and the Built Environment Special Interest Group.

Amber Watt

Research and Evaluation Manager, ECH, Australia