A recent article in the aged care newsletter, Community Care Review, ‘Home care redesign must be carer inclusive’ written by Judy Skatsson (May 25, 2021), discussed the importance of the family carer in home care and how the changes to the model of Home Care Packages to Consumer-Directed Care, eliminated the role of carers.
As the Aged Care Quality Standards focus on the care recipient being the centre of their care (as they should), it is important to remember the informal care services our clients are reliant on to remain at home. When you break down the direct contact support that a client can receive on the highest level package (Level 4), the funding available for formal care delivery ($141.94 per day) is insufficient to purchase care for a full day of active support. So how is a person on any level of Home Care Package able to stay at home without adequate funding for direct care? The answer is……with the incredible support of their informal carers (if they are lucky enough to have them)!
An informal carer can be in the form of a spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, friend, ex-partner, a neighbour down the road, and the list goes on. A carer is a person who provides support to a Home Care Package recipient. In many situations, without this additional informal support, the package recipient would not be able to remain living at home.
When I sit down with a client to discuss their care and service plan, I always make a point to speak with their carer. In some instances, it is the carer who needs to speak on behalf of the client. So how do we ensure we include the carer in the care of the client? We must first understand their role and ability to provide care, including the type and duration of care, and then consider their support needs. In designing a client’s care and service plan, the intentions and ability of the carer to provide informal care must be discussed and known. Implementing supports into the care and service plan that support the carer and their role, including in-home respite, residential respite, counselling services, house cleaning and gardening, can provide the carer with time to focus on the client’s direct care needs.
At SereneCare, we will always ensure that our clients receive our support and are actively involved in directing their care and services as per their needs, preferences and goals. However, we will also ensure that our Care Managers’ support extends to the important and essential informal carers. We appreciate and recognise that carers need our support just as much as our clients.
Remember, together is better!