It would be prudent for aged care services and home care services to undertake a review of their service and supports for elderly clients against these guidelines and consider what changes they might make if they were to achieve these guidelines.

The UK released new gold standard guidelines which signpost what is expected from organisations who are providing caring for the elderly. Home care providers in Australia would do well to consider this latest development and undertake a review of their existing homecare services against these guidelines as our aged care system closely mirrors that of developed countries such as the UK. It should be noted that in the UK these standards are promoted as ‘aspirational but achievable’.

So what sort of expectations are included in these new quality guidelines for in-home care for the elderly?

UK gold standard:

– no visits of less than 30 minutes;

– ensuring clients know their support worker;

– support should focussed to meet the individuals needs – not a ‘one size fits all’ approach;

– ensuring homecare support focusses on what the client can or would like to do to maintain their independence;

– support workers are allocated enough time to deliver homecare with dignity;

– support worker should receive training in dementia and diabetes;

– greater co-ordination with mainstream health system; and

– advance notice if a support worker visit is to be delayed + plans put in place for at risk clients.

These ‘gold standards,’ if applied in Australia, would directly impact HACC services, respite services, care packages in fact any in home care providers.

How relevant are these ‘gold standard’ guidelines on consumer directed care? With consumer directed care now being the dominate model of care delivery these guidelines provide insight into the wishes of consumers. The guidelines also support and reinforce the wellness approach and the role of goal setting and client wishes which is embedded in consumer directed care.

The release of the guidelines gives providers a window into the possible future of homecare services in Australia. It would be prudent for aged care services and home care services to undertake a review of their service and supports for elderly clients against these guidelines and consider what changes they might make if they were to achieve these guidelines.

These guidelines have been launched with support from the UK sector – with acknowledgement that there is still work to do and that some of these standards will impact on the cost of care.

Some quotes from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website:

“Helping a person remain as independent as possible is an important component to maintaining their wellbeing” – Professor Gill Leng.

“The help each person needs will differ and it is important that the homecare delivered is tailored specifically to the individual” – Bridget Warr, United Kingdom Homecare Association

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