Stakeholder Mapping is one way of supporting individuals receiving care services under a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) model.

It’s a way of minimising the duplication of services, maximising consumer package funds and ensuring that all relevant people are kept in the loop. Let’s see how this might work in a rural and remote setting.

Stakeholder Mapping supports Consumer Directed Care

Samuel* lives in a rural town in Far North Queensland. He is an aboriginal Elder, a family man and a recipient of a home care package through the local aged care program. Samuel lost his left lower leg three years ago, the result of complications from his diabetes. Despite being confined to a wheelchair to get around the community, Samuel is a keen fisherman and hunter. His sons take him out on the water or to his family outstation whenever they can, although often their own family needs impact on how much time they can give.

Samuel receives medical support to manage his diabetes and other health needs through the local health centre and visiting allied health specialists. When Samuel first came onto the aged care program, the aged care service supported him by transporting him to the local shops and appointments and provided one of his daily meals as well as a fortnightly laundry service. Samuel was also invited to join in activities run at the centre. However, the problem with this arrangement was that if the service was short staffed, Samuel often missed out on his transport service and his appointments. He was also not interested in attending centre-based activities.

When Consumer Directed Care was introduced, the coordinator realised that things had to change – Samuel was first and foremost a proud and independent man. The way the service was operating was not meeting his goals of independence and being more active.

Fast forward two years and Samuel is supported by the aged care service to fully utilise his home care package and to link with the wider community. He is able to participate in activities that he not only enjoys, but which support an active and healthy lifestyle. How was this done? Through identifying and mapping the key stakeholders in Samuel’s life and building on their support.

How Stakeholder Mapping Supports Quality Care

When the coordinator talked with Samuel and his family it was clear that although the family were supportive, they were not able to meet all of Samuel’s needs and wants. The aged care service was also unable to meet all of Samuel’s needs as he only held a level two package.

The coordinator was able to map out not only all the goals and ambitions that Samuel had, but also who in Samuels’ circle of family and friends was available and willing to support him. The coordinator also mapped other organisations or stakeholders in the area who could support Samuel in meeting his identified goals.

Today, the aged care service still supports Samuel with one meal a day and his laundry, however many of the transport tasks have been outsourced to a local community-operated transport service or family members. The aged care service assisted Samuel to join a fishing club and a volunteer from the club picks him up each week. Samuel has enjoyed sharing his cultural heritage and stories with his new friend along with the fishing.

The coordinator also worked with the local health clinic and the allied health teams to ensure everyone was kept in the loop about Samuel’s appointments and his medical needs. Although the service continues to provide most of Samuel’s transport for his medical appointments, a backup arrangement has been worked out with the clinic staff. This has meant that Samuel has been able to attend all his regular, scheduled appointments and has supported his overall health.

This is the sort of outcome we want to see for all consumers: quality care and support with the ability to help individuals meet their goals. Of course, to do this for consumers in your community or using your service, you'll need to do a bit of homework.

The introduction of Consumer Directed Care allows organisations to develop a model of service delivery that provides consumers with more choice and flexibility. Consumers have more control over the types of care and services they access, who delivers these services and when. To support this, it will be necessary for organisations to undertake a stakeholder mapping exercise at both the service level and the consumer level.

Who Might be on Your List

Health Related Stakeholders
At the organisational level, your Aged and Disability support program is only one of a number of services that may provide assistance to a person. Depending on your location, there may be other aged care related services that also provide support or services to your clients, for example, the health clinic, allied health professionals, Carer Respite services and the palliative care team, etc.

Let’s be realistic – many smaller organisations cannot provide all the support that some clients require, so to remain in the game as the models of service delivery evolve, it may be a practical idea to broker or sub-contract services from others to meet the needs of your clients.

Community Level Stakeholders and Supports
Then there are the normal community services that are accessible to everyone – buses and taxi services, sporting and service clubs, shops and cafes and Centrelink social workers. In remote settings, the regular community services are more limited, however they are still there (think Bush Bus or mail plane, Sports and Recreation services along with the community store).

Consumer Level Stakeholders
It is important to expand your mapping exercise to also include those at the consumer level. Aged and Disability services work in partnership with the consumers’ family and friends. As every individual and community is different, you will also find other supports in the form of local church fellowships, art centres and clubs that the individual already belongs to.

The Importance of a Collaborative Approach

It is not only important that the client understands that aged care does not do everything for the person, it is also important that other stakeholders understand that under the wellness and reablement model, we must adopt a collaborative approach in meeting the needs of our clients.

With the aim to help people to maintain or regain their independence, knowing who else is out there in your community to help and networking with these people will strengthen your reputation in your community and increase the viability of your organisation.

*Note: Samuel is a fictional character, however, he and the setting are based on an amalgamation of real life examples.

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