Can a Home Care Package deliver a meaningful life? Challenges for rural home care delivery

Pauline Marsh, Amelie Fuller, Judith Anderson


Objective: To explore the capacity and responsiveness of the Home Care Package (HCP) Program to deliver the promise of a meaningful life for rural residents.
Methods: In-depth interviews utilising appreciative enquiry in two local government areas in rural/outer regional Tasmania (MM2-6). Participants: Rural staff and residents who were either receiving, seeking or delivering support through the HCP Program.
Results: Interviews revealed that positive impacts of being assisted to stay at home resulted when staff were able to provide support that was appropriate to need, and enabled the continuation of rural community engagement, individual autonomy and control. When the HCP did not provide these, or even hindered them, there were negative consequences, and feelings of confusion, mistrust, and disappointment for staff and residents. The rural context creates specific challenges for the HCP Program in its current form, related to service availability and choice, staff recruitment, training and availability, and client/provider needs mismatch.
Conclusions: Older rural people are variously impacted upon by the HCP Program. Factors of rurality, including workforce issues, hamper the Program’s potential to positively contribute to a meaningful life. As demand grows, changes are needed. There is a need to examine the Program design for urban-centrisms, and gain a greater awareness of older rural people’s needs and rural service challenges.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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