• Industry: Healthcare
  • Type: Survey report
  • Date: 5/21/2013

Consumer directed care 

Consumer directed care (CDC)1 is both a philosophy and an orientation to service delivery where consumers have more choice and control over the services they receive and the design of these services. Studies have shown that CDC results in better quality of life, independence outcomes and satisfaction with care and may enable more older Australians to stay at home longer.

From 2010-2012, the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing made an initial 700 flexible packaged aged care and respite places available to demonstrate CDC approaches in a community aged care context. An evaluation of the initiative was subsequently conducted.

The key lessons learned from the implementation and operation of the initiative:

  • High care need participants and their carers were more interested and actively involved in planning and decision-making than low care need participants.
  • Participants chose the similar types of supports as those available under standard packaged care and exercised choice and control over how the services were delivered (mostly around flexible service delivery and continuity of support workers).
  • For CDC, there can be a conflict between the level of consumer choice to expend their funds as they wish and a provider’s responsibility and duty of care to ensure they receive supports they need.
  • Though there are early indicators that CDC for respite and high care needs consumers increases participants’ satisfaction and could be relatively cost-effective, additional data collection will allow the outcomes and cost-effectiveness of the initiative to be better assessed. The evaluation has already had some impact, informing the Australian Government’s decision to roll-out additional Home Care Packages to older people from 2013 and a commitment that these packages would be ‘consumer-directed’.

1Consumer-Directed Care – Way to empower consumers (PDF 499 KB), Alzheimer’s Australia, May 2007
Accessed 13 February 2013.


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