High Achievers - Community and Home Support Team South Gippsland Shire Council
South Gippsland Shire Council’s Community and Home Support Team is helping older and less-able residents to maintain independence within their own homes.
Like many regional areas, the south-eastern Victorian shire has an aging population: 47 per cent of residents are aged 50 or over.
Funded by the State and Federal Governments and Council, the Community and Home Support Team provides a much-appreciated service to over 1200 clients and their families across the council area, which spans 3300 square kilometres.
The team is comprised of over 40 Community Support Workers, office staff and around 300 volunteers.
Councillor Meg Edwards nominated the team as LG Focus ‘High Achievers’ and said: “They are very valued in the community. In a time of federal funding uncertainty, they are just getting the job done.”
Coordinator Aged and Disability Services Monica Pound said the program assists a wide range of people.
“Our program provides basic home support services for people who are frail, aged, people with disabilities and their carers. We assist them to continue to live independently in their community.”
She said the team has had great success in working in partnership with other local health service providers and keeps up consistent communication.
“Our team leaders participate in fortnightly Coordinated Care meetings.”
“Held in local towns, these meetings allow for great communication between service providers, ensuring clients with complex needs receive the very best of care.
“We also work with two local health service partners to develop shared community plans such as our current Diversity Plan. This provides a cohesive community approach to diversity and means work is not duplicated.”
Community Support Workers also meet regularly in community settings to understand how best to deal with client needs, which provides opportunities for training and a refresh on policy and processes.
Ms Pound said the work is not without challenges and covering a large area can prove difficult.
“Due to many clients living in rural and remote areas there are often challenges in covering the distances required. The training and recruiting of staff to work in these areas is also a challenge.”
The team has had to adapt to recent changes to funding guidelines for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).
“With the need for new systems and processes and an increased workload, the service provision team has been increasingly pressed for time in their day-to-day work.
“We are super proud of how well we have supported each other through this change and continued to provide great client care.”
Ms Pound said the team has ensured older residents have been kept informed about the changes.
“Many of our clients who are aged over 65 years have been confused by the changes to the aged care system and the My Aged Care Portal.
“Along with the Regional Assessment Team the Service Provision team have been very active in the going out into the community to talk about the changes with a variety of groups such as Senior Citizens, Probus, Rotary and the Citizens Advice Bureau.”
A new client management system has recently been developed, so data can be managed more effectively.
“This has involved a thorough mapping and review of our business taking into account the impact and benefit this will bring our team and clients when we go ‘live’.”
Ms Pound added: “Work on the continuous improvement and embedding of our Service Provision Intake and Reassessment process is ongoing.
“We have discovered ways to record and supply data that are flexible, user friendly and reflect a Wellness and Reablement approach to business.”