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Case management in aged care

case management in aged care

Do you need an aged care case manager?

If you’re helping to care for a senior, or looking into what’s needed, you’ll know there’s a lot to do. It’s hard to know where to start. There’s corresponding with My Aged Care, figuring out home care services, your senior person’s ongoing healthcare services, and more - there are a lot of pieces to put together. A case manager is an expert at handling all of this, with the clinical knowledge to ensure your senior loved one is receiving the right care to suit changing needs as they age. You can access a government-funded aged care case manager or pay privately for case management, and we’ll look at how both work.

What is case management in aged care?

While the term ‘case management’ sounds unfriendly – nobody enjoys feeling like they’re a ‘case number’ – providing case management means looking after an individual’s needs. The role may also be referred to as a Care manager. A case manager coordinates the services your loved one needs to remain at home. Generally speaking, it is not required for older people living in an aged care facility.

A case manager:

  • Gets to know the person who’s in need of care (and their family)
  • Identifies their individual needs
  • Learns and understands their goals and interests
  • Develops a care plan and arranges services to support the needs of an individual and their carer  
  • Adjusts services to meet changing needs
Without a case manager, an older person and their family are often ‘in the dark’ and trying to navigate the system on their own. 

What is private case management?

Paying privately for case management means you can access the case management straight away on a fee for service basis (you will wait up to a year for government-funded case management through a home care package!) You can engage a private case manager such as Empower Aged Care and just pay for the support you need at an hourly rate with no lock-in contracts. 

When is it best to pay privately for case management? 

  • When you need case management straight away, for example; recent injury, discharge from hospital, carer stress
  • You want a more personalised approach. For us, it’s about developing trust and relationships with our clients and their families
  • When you don’t want to go through government assessment processes managed by My Aged Care and Centrelink
  • You’re on a self-managed Home Care Package without access to a regular case manager
    • A self-managed HCP will provide entry-level case management. However, there may be times when a higher level of case management support and expertise is required. Empower Aged Care can be engaged as a local case manager for clients on self-managed home care packages in Melbourne, with the fees paid by the home care package instead of by the client. 

Families might be concerned that bringing in a case manager means they’ll take over and be all about reporting and ticking boxes. This is definitely not the way we work. 

  • We work together with families 
  • We help you to understand the aged care system so you have informed choices
  • We check whether services are working out and adjust if needed
  • We focus on keeping you in control, well and at home

What is government-funded home care case management?

Older people can access government-funded case management as a component of their Home Care Package

A Home Care Package case manager is assigned after an older person is approved for and allocated a home care package and has signed up with a provider. At that time, the case manager could begin to help by preparing a care plan (in line with government guidelines) that makes the best use of the funding an older person was approved for, and arrange the home care services accordingly. 
 
Points to note:
  • Older people would need to be eligible for a Home Care Package – not everyone is eligible
  • Home Care Package recipients tend to be older people with more complex care needs
  • It relies on government assessment processes through My Aged Care involving the Aged Care Assessment Team 
  • Waiting periods are long – it could be up to a year by the time you’ve been assessed and received a Home Care Package
  • Part pensioners and self-funded retirees need to make a financial contribution to a Home Care Package which is referred to as an income tested fee. Therefore, it’s not always worth it for self-funded retirees to accept a Home Care Package, compared to paying for private services which are more readily available. The maximum income tested fee is $32.30 per day capped at $11,759.74 per year. This is a significant amount of fees that could instead be used to pay directly for private case management.  

How Empower Aged Care delivers case management

Seniors and their families turn to Empower Aged Care to coordinate home care services. Sometimes they’ve tried to arrange everything themselves and found it confusing and time-consuming to navigate the aged care system and all the providers.

Our clients have said ‘it’s like having your own PA’ to liaise with My Aged Care and service providers.
 
As your case manager, Empower Aged Care is able to visit you at home in Melbourne and provide a high level of intensive support.

Our process

We carry out a Holistic Aged Care Assessment
  • We make a home visit, identify a senior’s care needs and develop a care plan
  • You’ll receive a copy of our assessment report and care plan recommendations by email
Our role is to communicate directly with an older person and their key people, including doctors, specialists, and nominated family members.
 
We find the services that are best suited to your needs
As independent consultants, we do not receive commissions.
  • We’ll liaise with all the service providers to get services set up
  • We’ll check that services are keeping you independent and providing support where needed
 You can contact us directly to discuss your situation and concerns 
  • We continue to stay involved
  • We check in with you by phone and home visits 
We conduct regular reviews with you and your family
  • You’ll let us know what’s working and if there are any changes to your situation
  • We can adjust the array of services as needed: increase supports, reduce supports, different supports
  • We will continue to provide expert advice
For services that are in place, we look at how they’re helping you to achieve your goals, for example:
  • Whether the older person is stronger with physio
  • Whether home modifications helped reduce falls and improve safety
  • How services have supported a carer 
You determine how much or how little private case management you need to access
  • You only pay for what you use – you don’t need to sign up for contracts

We know how important it is for seniors to remain in their home, to age in place. Using a private case management service early on can be a good choice for planning ahead, particularly for people with chronic conditions or declining health. If you wait, your care needs could rapidly increase, but some support could help with ageing comfortably at home.

What to look for in a good home care case manager

You’ll be working closely with your home care case manager so it’s important to find someone who’s a good fit. 
 
When you engage a private case manager you can have choice, but for government-funded home care package services you’re often allocated to someone at random. The personnel might change during the course of the care period, so too might the qualification level of the case manager you’re assigned.

Attributes of an effective case manager in aged care include:

  • Clinically skilled – being able to do detailed assessments
    • Our case managers are qualified health professionals with over 15 years of industry experience 
  • Strong knowledge base of all the community services available
  • Pro-active – a good case manager knows what a client needs before they do
  • Advocacy skills – this is a multi-part skill. Being a strong advocate means: 
    • Championing a senior’s and family’s wellbeing goals as we would our own
    • Having the depth of experience to see bureaucratic hurdles as problems to solve on the family’s behalf, and not roadblocks 
    • Having the tenacity to ask the right questions of service providers to get the best outcome for the senior and their family 
  • Confident communicator, friendly, and with deep compassion
    • Sometimes what the senior client wants isn’t what the family wants so facilitating discussions and constructive problem-solving is needed to reach a solution that benefits both

Case managers need to offer a range of communication methods to meet the needs of clients with differing technical skill. We home visit across Melbourne and can keep in touch with seniors and families in a number of ways:

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Video call
  • Additional home visits if needed

Case management supports healthy ageing at home

We understand and appreciate a senior’s goal is to age in place and we work hard to find the best supports for your senior loved one to do so. 

Engage a case manager early on. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. You don’t want to wait until an older person can’t do things for themselves or things become too difficult. 
 
When it comes to easing the stress of direct care for seniors and trying to arrange service providers, the client’s family benefits from having a case manager just as much as the client does. 
 
Consider bringing in a home care advocate like Empower Aged Care for aged care case management services. We will:
  • Draw from our experience of the changing needs of seniors as they age
  • Navigate the aged care system for you and identify services that are right for you/your senior loved one
  • Liaise with My Aged Care and home care providers on your behalf
  • Make all the arrangements for home care services to meet your needs
  • Keep in touch to review your needs periodically and adjust services.
 
The first step is a Holistic Aged Care Assessment. Book in by calling 0404 444 985.
 
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