Caring in the marketplace is possible
Aged care reform and the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is offering Tasmanian’s more choice and control than ever before.
Anglicare Lifestyle provides services to seniors and people with a disability, and it was established to contribute to Anglicare’s mission of responding to the needs of disadvantaged Tasmanians by providing essential services.
Preparing our organisation, our workforce and our customers for aged care reform and the NDIS has seen Anglicare Lifestyle embark on a journey of reform.
Our successful evolution towards preparing for the new ‘marketplace’ has all occurred within existing funding and without compromising Anglicare’s values.
At the recent Anglicare Australia National Conference our General Manager of Senior Services, Connie Bruckard and General Manager of Business Development and Performance, John Rowland shared about their preparation for the aged care reforms.
‘In moving into a more competitive market we needed to respond to the individual needs of our customers and provide a more reliable service while doing so,’ said John. ‘We had made many changes in favour of offering customers more choice of what kind of services would be provided and ensuring those services are available during times of peak demand.’
‘Change is never easy,’ said Connie, ‘we knew that we would need to work hard to respond to the Government reforms, and this would mean some changes for our customers. We needed to keep our values of respect, compassion, justice and hope, but shift our thinking in how we ran our business.
‘To respect our customers in the face of unprecedented change, we communicated about what the Government’s reform changes would mean for them,’ said Connie.
Anglicare’s Senior Services introduced service teams to work in local areas. This reduces travel time and allows more time to be devoted to customers.
‘Anglicare has a responsibility to share the resources as fairly as possible to meet the greatest need. We showed compassion for those waiting on access to services by negotiating with our current customers to compromise a little to allow us to help a lot more people,’ said Connie.
‘People were wonderful. When they understood that we were focused on providing improved services and to more people they were accepting of the changes and willing to be flexible.
‘We also strive for justice for our customers in planning their services with them in a way that demonstrates careful stewardship of available funding. We’ve moved towards creating specialist services that operate at times when we can increase the number of clients we support.’
Senior Services has introduced a local intake team of specialist workers who focus on identifying risks and increasing client satisfaction. It means some of the administrative aspects of scheduling can be centralised, leading to major efficiencies and allowing us to introduce popular services like shorter visits.
‘Having a single team working with our staff and clients ensured consistency and equity, upholding the value of justice, across decision making,’ said Connie.
An important focus of Lifestyle’s work is supporting clients to regain or increase their independence. It’s something we celebrate.
‘Hope is a core value for Anglicare. Now that we have changed our approach, we can demonstrate this by providing hope for our customers by embedding what we call “a re-ablement culture” and offering service with the belief that our customers have the capacity to live without our service in future,’ said Connie.
Anglicare Lifestyle has been able to better invest in its workforce as a result of these organisational changes. It can now support more Tasmanians with staff who receive more regular training and support.
‘A new workforce development model provided different work options for the different stages in our employee’s lives, providing flexibility within our workforce with the intention of providing work options that match the life commitments of our people.
‘Providing opportunities for people to enter the workforce and receive training on the job will hopefully encourage new applicants. We want to offer career pathways for our employees. For example, offering work within school hours caters for parents of young children,’ said Connie.
Customers are responding positively to the changes.
A survey conducted with over two hundred aged and home care service participants showed an increase in their level of satisfaction since these changes have been made. Over 91 percent of participants surveyed said they would recommend Anglicare Lifestyle to a friend or family member.
‘Anglicare Lifestyle is one of Tasmania’s largest providers of home care and disability support services. We can offer competitive services underpinned with our values of compassion, respect, hope and justice. We have proved that caring in the marketplace is possible,’ said John.