Before joining Happy Living, Mrs. Li was using another Home Care Package provider. “I’m not a young person anymore, and there are a lot of things that I can’t accomplish by myself. I was hoping that someone could give me a hand, since I had been issued a Home Care Package.” The HCP provider Mrs. Li was with at that time stated that she would be assigned a dedicated case manager to solve every single problem when using her Home Care Package. “They told me that in Australia, Chinese elderlies are not able to handle a lot of things themselves. That we are not like kids, who are fast learners. That it would be too hard for elderlies to pick new stuff up. And that even if you do, you will just forget about them in a couple of days.” Mrs. Li said she felt disappointed when she heard this from her previous Provider. However, she had to admit that it did make sense to some extent.
- ‘Overall responsibility’ or ‘overall constraints’?
After joining that Provider, Mrs. Li had some weekly home care services arranged for her, and was assigned in-house service personnel by her Case Manager. However, she felt a bit let down because she did not have the opportunity to make her own decisions when using her own Home Care Package. She had to go with the arrangements of the HCP Provider, which made her feel restricted. For instance, it was the in-house home care service team who provided her services, are because of this, Mrs. Li felt scared to inconvenience her Case Manager when the care workers were not doing their job. She also disliked the fact that she was only allowed to see an appointed Chinese medicine practitioner, which was so far away from her that she needed to be accompanied by a care worker whenever she went. In this way, not only did she have to spend extra money that she could have otherwise saved in her HCP account, she also found that it was a dissipation of her energy .
- Self-managing does not mean ‘doing everything on your own’.
After transferring to Happy Living, Mrs. Li noticed that it wasn’t terrible as the previous Provider had warned her it would be. According to Mrs. Li, since joining Happy Living, she has been assigned her own dedicated Care Coordinator who helps with problem-solving, and that it is not difficult at all to arrange her desired services by herself. A Care Plan and specific care goals were developed based on Mrs. Li’s individual care needs when she signed up and she only needs to arrange her services based on these goals. Mrs Li is able to choose her own care workers, some of which were referred by her friends, and others which were chosen online. Her Care Coordinator will contact these service workers directly to conduct a review before they start providing services for Mrs. Li. Some of the service workers are also recommended by her Care Coordinator, ensuring that the quality of service is guaranteed. All of Mrs. Li’s service personnel speak Chinese, and therefore Mrs. Li is able to communicate with them directly whenever she needs to.
- Elders are not only are entitled to, but also ought to be part of the process.
In 2017, the Australian government amended the Consumer Directed Care (CDC) legislation within the aged care industry, which decided that elderlies should be entitled to more power of choice and control when it came to their Home Care Package. This is where the self-management model from. The self-management model is designed to acknowledge older people’s entitlements rather than restrictions. The model itself was launched by the government targeting most of the users of Home Care Package. Happy Living has been substantially improving the process of management and the quality of service according to feedback received from older people as well as regulation guidelines from the government. This is the reason Happy Living has been emphasising that the self-management model is suitable for a lot of Home Care Package holders to use.