Priority rating for community care

Tara L. Stevermuer, University of Wollongong
Alan G. Owen, University of Wollongong
Kathryn E. Williams, University of Wollongong
Malcolm R. Masso, University of Wollongong

Stevermuer, T. L., Owen, A. G., Williams, K. E. & Masso, M. R. (2007). Priority rating for community care. Australian Health Review, 31 (4), 592-602.


This paper, which is an additional nosokinetics paper to accompany those presented in Aust Health Rev 31(1), reports on priority rating through a standardised community care assessment system, based on screening for functional abilities and incorporating additional indicators of need and risk. Routinely collected measures used to generate a priority rating have proven useful in clinical decision making and active demand management at the service entry point. Priority rating is a step towards a more equitable and efficient assessment system. Three examples of priority rating systems are described. The first is a generalist application now implemented in routine practice across multiple service types in the Queensland community care and community health system. The second, narrower in scope, was designed for the NSW Home Care Service, and is also being routinely collected. The third was pilot tested in a state-wide program to supply aids and appliances to disabled people and introduced the additional concept of capacity to benefit. The case studies show how a technical and data-driven approach can be useful in guiding policy in a complex health care sector.