Measuring the outcomes of case managed community care: towards a practical instrument for Australian home support

Final report stage 1 pilot project 2012-2013
Ageing Aged care Community organization Home care Housing for older people
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The report is the product of collaboration between Macquarie University and five organisations concerned with aged care. Three service organisations, Community Care Northern Beaches, the Benevolent Society, and KinCare and two advocacy organisations Aged and Community Care New South Wales and Community Options New South Wales have worked with A/Prof Michael Fine to develop the program of research. In 2012 funding was secured through Macquarie University’s Partnership funding scheme with financial contributions from each partner organisation to develop and pilot a measure of outcomes of case management in community care.

The research has been designed to test, document and apply standard measures for the determination of client outcomes in case managed community care for older people. Stage One, the first year of the research program, completed in 2012-2013, was a rigorous pilot study undertaken in the three well established and experienced case management services in New South Wales: KinCare, Community Care Northern Beaches, and the Benevolent Society. In Stage Two, to be conducted in years two and three, the successful approaches identified in the first stage will be further trialled through case managed and other suitable services for older people across the State and the larger data sets used to examine the outcomes of case managed care and assess the effectiveness of the tools developed. The project and continuation of funding was subject to quarterly reviews by the university and annual reviews by the research partners.

The first year of the project, to be discussed in detail in this report, was designed to develop methodologies and collaboration to lay the foundations for future research and demonstrate the effectiveness and value of the full study. Over three years, the full study is intended to enhance the provision of case management services to older people in NSW by developing tools to focus case managers on client outcomes and facilitate measurement of the impact of services on client well-being and functional capabilities. Methodologies used over the one year period included organisational mapping, interviews with Case Managers (CMs), literature review and development and pilot of a draft tool.

The project provides an opportunity to combine rigorous research with collaborative learning. It enables participating service providers the opportunity to test and share information about the most effective practices in areas such as assessment, case-planning and the processes of case-management; to share the lessons of working collaboratively in developing and testing the feasibility of adopting common approaches to data collection; and to trial the feasibility, benefits and challenges of using standard outcome measures across different service providers.

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