Home care packages: Insights into the experiences of older people leading up to the introduction of consumer directed care in Australia

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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Primary Health, 2017, 23 (2), pp. 162 - 169
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© 2017 La Trobe University. This paper reports phase one, conducted from March to June 2015, of a two-phase, qualitative descriptive study designed to explore the perceptions and experiences of older people before and after the introduction of consumer directed care (CDC) to home care packages (HCP) in Australia. Eligible consumers with a local HCP provider were mailed information about the study. Data collection occurred before the introduction of CDC and included face-To-face, in-depth interviews, summaries of interviews, field notes and reflective journaling. Semi-structured questions and 'emotional touchpoints' relating to home care were used to guide the interview conversation. Line-by-line data analysis, where significant statements were highlighted and clustered to reveal emergent themes, was used. Five older people, aged 81 to 91 years, participated in the study. The four emergent themes were: seeking quality and reciprocity in carer relationships; patchworking services; the waiting game; and technology with utility. Continuity of carers was central to the development of a trusting relationship and perceptions of care quality among older consumers. Care coordinators and workers should play a key role in ensuring older people receive timely information about CDC and their rights and responsibilities. Participants' use of contemporary technologies suggests opportunities to improve engagement of HCP clients in CDC.
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