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How would case managers’ practice change in a consumer-directed care environment in Australia?
journal contributionposted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by E C You, D Dunt, Colleen Doyle
The aim of this study was to explore case managers’ perceived changes in their practice in the future when consumer-directed care (CDC) is widely implemented in Australia's community aged care system. Purposeful sampling was used and semi-structured individual and group interviews were conducted between September 2012 and March 2013. Participants were drawn from a list of all case managers who administered publicly funded community aged care packages in Victoria, Australia. Empowerment theory was used to guide the analysis and interpretation of the data. The thematic analysis revealed that case managers had mixed views about CDC. They also perceived changes in case managers’ practice in the future when CDC is widely implemented. These might specifically include: first, case managers would not directly manage clients’ budgets. While some case managers were concerned about losing power for this change, others believed that they would still have important financial roles to perform, such as setting rules, providing financial support and monitoring clients’ use of budgets. Second, case managers would focus on performing roles in providing information, and empowering, facilitating and educating clients. These would help to strengthen clients’ capacities and assist them to self-manage their care. Third, case managers would work in partnership with clients through frequent or skilful communication, mutual goal setting and goal facilitation. Fourth, case managers would manage more clients. In addition, they would provide less support to each individual client and perform less care co-ordination role. The findings suggest case managers paying attention to power balance regarding budget management in a CDC environment. Furthermore, they might frequently or skilfully communicate with, empower, facilitate and educate clients; work together with them to set up goals; and facilitate them to achieve goals. New research using empowerment theory to examine the actual practice of case managers in a well-established CDC system is warranted.