Consumer-directed care for older Australians: Are resources identified on the Web adequate to support decisions about home-based care packages?
Consumer-directed care (CDC) was introduced as part of aged care policy reforms in Australia in 2012. CDC aims to promote choice and control for people with complex needs who need home care and supports. While more choices may bring benefits, information and resources are needed by people to navigate new and complex care-related decisions. In 2017, we identified the resources available to support consumers of the new CDC Home Care Packages (HCP) program via an Internet search. Forty-six resources were analysed to assess the adequacy of information to inform care choices. General information was most frequently found, but information to guide specific choices, such as choosing or changing service providers, was limited. Accessibility of information was limited for non-English speakers and for people with low literacy or reduced capacity for decision making. No training opportunities were identified, and only one non-partisan organisation offered support for decision making. Overall, the information and supports analysed were not adequate to assist older people to make choices to ensure consumer direction of care. There is an urgent need to improve the quality and accessibility of information and provide training and support for choice, particularly for those with limited decision-making capacity, such as those living with dementia.