Our partnership with Uniting AgeWell

Maribyrnong councillors endorsed a decision to appoint a not-for-profit provider of in-home support services at the Ordinary Council Meeting on Tuesday 19 February 2019.

Under a subcontracting arrangement, Uniting AgeWell will deliver Council’s in-home aged care and services to people under 65 with a disability, including home care, personal care, and in-home respite

Find out more about this arrangement below.

The federal reforms and challenges for local government

The aged care and disability reforms

The Australian Government is reforming the aged care and disability system to allow for greater choice and control and to make it easier for people to access services. These changes include:

  • the Victorian Home and Community Care (HACC) program being replaced by the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), providing a more consumer driven, market-based and nationally consistent system.
  • the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rolling out, providing new individualised support for Australians with a disability. The NDIS will largely replace existing systems of disability care, including some of our current services.
  • proposed future funding changes promoting increased choice and flexibility.
  • increased competition from new providers with greater ability to tailor support and provide a broader range of services.

Challenges for local government

The reforms impact on local government across Victoria. In particular, the structures and processes that created the unique Victorian HACC model have been, and will continue to be, seriously disrupted and this will affect our service delivery. In response to the reforms, many local governments have decided to stop providing some or all of their home and community care services. 

Continuing our services in partnership with Uniting AgeWell

In response to the federal reforms, Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay City Councils underwent a joint tender process to identify a values aligned provider to deliver quality care for clients and quality employment for staff. Following extensive market sounding and research, Uniting AgeWell was awarded the subcontracting tender.  Both Councils will work in partnership with Uniting AgeWell to continue to deliver home care, personal care, and in-home respite services. You can find out more about this here.

About Uniting AgeWell

Uniting AgeWell has an excellent reputation for quality care and employment, and is a community focussed, not-for-profit organisation with a local presence. Their key focus is supporting clients to experience a sense of wellbeing, choice and independence at every age and stage of their lives. They currently provide a range of services to support older adults across Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong, including social support groups, in-home respite services and Home Care Packages, and are well placed to support local clients. You can find out more about Uniting AgeWell here.

What does this mean for clients and staff?

Continuity of care and employment

Council's decision will not change our services. Employees will be offered continued employment with the same terms and conditions, and clients will continue to receive the same high quality of care from the workers they know and feel comfortable with.

As part of our partnership with Uniting AgeWell, we are committed to:

  • continuity and quality of care for our clients
  • maintaining local employment for our employees
  • minimising change
  • communicating openly and regularly with employees, clients and community

A full continuum of care is best for clients

The Australian Government aims to provide service users with a smooth continuum of care across the service system. Council currently provides in-home support, which is entry level support for a person living at home. In comparison, Uniting AgeWell provides in-home support, home care packages (which involve more complex support at home), independent living facilities and residential aged care (which include personal and nursing care in aged care homes). Uniting AgeWell can provide our clients with a full continuum of care, and clients will no longer need  to locate a new provider when our entry level services no longer meet their needs.

Positive Ageing in Maribyrnong

Our community is experiencing change in the aged care system, partly because of the federal reforms, but also because how we live in older age is changing. Over the past few years, we have spoken with a large number of older residents who have told us what they need to age well in Maribyrnong. In addition to our partnership with Uniting AgeWell, we want to develop and improve activities, programs, partnerships and ideas that promote community connection, independence and choice for older residents in our city.

This year we will implement a strategy that will be driven by our older residents and client's views. Further information about this will be available soon. 

Community consultation

In the lead up to Council's decision, we hosted an online forum, alongside a postcard survey and a public meeting through our Older Person's Reference Group, to seek the community’s view on our role under the CHSP. We also hosted an online forum, alongside a postcard survey and a public meeting to help develop recommendations on our role in the NDIS. The meeting was attended by 35 clients, their carers and family members.

You can find a video summary of the night here, and a summary of the responses provided by the community about disability services here (PDF, 307KB) and aged care services here(PDF, 274KB) (PDF, 275KB).

The outcomes of the online forum, postcards and public meeting were a key input for the evaluation of our role and in establishing how we best support residents. In particular, a key theme from clients and community members was the importance of continuity of care, and continuing to be visited by the workers they know and trust. We are pleased to be able to provide this through our partnership with Uniting AgeWell.