Aligning Business and Care models to succeed

Many providers can evidence a commitment to embed wellness and reablement into service delivery. Continuous improvement plans are filled with strategies to educate staff to enhance their clients’ abilities or provide opportunities for clients to have a voice in how and when their care is provided. While these are important for the successful provision of support that promotes independence, unless there is an alignment between both the care and business models, the vision of embedding wellness and reablement will not be realised.

Below, we have put together some of the elements which need to be considered in both business and care models when implementing wellness and reablement within an organisation. Many of these considerations are interrelated, but if implemented in isolation even with the best of intentions, will not provide the best practice outcomes for older people who wish to stay in their homes for longer.

Elements to consider for both business and care models

1. Promote independence

Promoting independence across the breadth of an organisation requires an understanding by all involved in the ageing process. Understanding how to expand healthy and functional years in the life span includes all staff and volunteers, as well as clients.

The belief is, that no matter what age or disability the client is living with, there are opportunities for them to improve their ability to complete all or part of their daily tasks and engage independently in social and mentally engaging activities of their choice.

Factors to consider:
Promote independence bullet points
2. Individual support planning and goal setting

A support plan is the communication tool between the client/family and staff to provide guidance on how they will work together in the pursuit of the client’s goal/s.

Plans build on the information collected by assessors and identify the steps and the roles each person plays. Support plans also provide a record of the progress a client makes, and solutions identified when challenges arise.

Support worker and client reviewing support plan
Factors to consider:
Individual support planning bullet points
3. Service delivery that enables active engagement

Although ‘doing with, not for’ has become the catch cry in aged care as the way in which we work with clients, for frontline staff, the ability to put this into practice can come with challenges.

Without all involved, including clients and families, understanding this approach and the reasons for its implementation, staff who see their role as ‘caring through doing’ for older people, may revert back to doing just that – instead of providing the opportunity for the client to practice or complete tasks themselves when they are able.

Senior ladies together in the home
Factors to consider:
Service delivery bullet points
4. Support positive risk-taking to maximise independence

The dignity of risk is about the right of the individual to make their own decisions about their care services as well as the right to take risks. Positive risk-taking has many benefits and depending on the situation it can improve autonomy, social interactions, health, independence, self-determination, and feeling of greater self-worth.

elderly lady walking with stick
Factors to consider:
Support positive risk-taking bullet points
5. ‘Outcome focused’ to appropriately minimise the ongoing support required

Measuring client outcomes or the impact which support being provided has on a person’s independence and quality of life is essential for an organisation, when measuring the success of embedding wellness and reablement into their service delivery. Both quantitative (outputs reported via Data Exchange) and qualitative (information gained from the client, observations recorded through updates of support plans and client notes) can be used to track a client’s progress and the impact support may have on their level of independence.

Factors to consider:
Outcome focused Bullet points

Benefits for many

The many benefits of embedding wellness and reablement approaches into service delivery are well documented. They apply to all stakeholders including clients, families, staff, organisations, and the financial savings for the aged care budget. The most outstanding of benefits is for the client when their reliance on support is decreased. This sees the ripple effect of increased confidence in one area, which often enhances confidence in others, leading to a greater quality of life. 

Support worker explaining support plan

There are also many documented benefits for staff – one being, greater job satisfaction through actively supporting a client to achieve their goals, and better utilisation of their skills. For organisations, this means a broadening of their client base where a greater number of clients can be supported and experiencing repeat business from satisfied clients who received support focused on achieving their goals.

For organisations committed to realising a vision of wellness and reablement being the core to their service delivery, reviewing and alignment of their care and business models requires close examination. Seeing the alignment through the lens of increased costs only will create barriers and prevent successful implementation. Commitment at the outset and an ability to work through all components of the models identifying compromises, where required, that deliver the best possible outcomes for older people will have a positive impact across the organisation and beyond.