Achieving High Consumer Participation in Home Care - UPA Hunter Region

Achieving High Consumer Participation in Home Care - UPA Hunter Region

Leanne Schmitzer - Community Care Coordinator

UPA have been providing community care services since 1995, starting with 30 community aged care packages (CACPs) in the Tweed Shire and has since grown rapidly into an extensive and varied community care program throughout New South Wales. Today UPA currently cares for more than 580 consumers receiving Home Care services.

UPA Hunter Region CACP received packages for the first time in 2011, and in 2012 we were successful in receiving more packages for the Maitland Region. In July 2012, UPA CACP's services joined the QPS benchmarking program so this year was the first time we conducted the QPS Consumer & Family Satisfaction Surveys. Prior to this we conducted an internal survey but did not include Family Members.

Our Personal Approach

Our preferred method for the distribution of the surveys was to take a personal approach. We chose to hand deliver the surveys to both consumers and relatives to ensure a high response rate. We decided on this process because we believed there was a good chance that the consumers and family members may not have fully recognised why we needed this information if the surveys were posted out. We wanted to explain how important their participation in completing the survey is to our service so we can identify any areas not meeting their needs and expectations and make improvements were necessary. We also wanted to make sure they were aware of all the services available to them. While this information is also provided to our customers when they join our service, by hand delivering the surveys we were able to re-enforce this information face to face. During this time we were also able to identifying if they needed any assistance in completing the survey.

Our Process

We printed one consumer and one family survey each, put the consumers name on top of both forms and a return by date. Each staff member was given about 3 consumers & family surveys and the consumers name was written next to each staff members' name. The staff were provided with specific instructions including explaining the purpose of the survey and the importance of their feedback. All staff were also informed they were not to influence the consumers in any way. When it got close to the survey cut-off date we noticed a couple of consumers with sight impairments had not returned their survey. A staff member was asked to offer assistance to complete the survey for those consumers whom required help. We had strict rules in place that the staff member was not to have input into their responses and to simply write what the consumer said. We were fortunate that only a few consumers needed assistance and the majority had regular visits from family members at the time the surveys were conducted. It also worked exceptionally well with some consumers receiving visits from their family from interstate who were also able to assist and participate.

We kept track of the survey returns and managed to get almost all responses back, and we had only one consumer and family survey outstanding. The staff member was asked to remind the consumer of the survey at her next visit. Once we received all surveys back we then posted them to the QPS office to ensure they are processed by an independent organisation.

Using the Results

We used the results of identified areas within the survey and made changes to our information booklet and associated policies and procedures. When I personally next visited the consumers at their 3 monthly reviews, I explained how their feedback had identified that certain information was missing or not clear and went through the updated information with each consumer and checked for their understanding.

I congratulated the staff at their next staff meeting with a light lunch, for such a great effort and the excellent care that they are providing to the consumers. A newsletter will be going out soon to all consumers and family thanking them for their effort and kind words of appreciation. This will also go into our annual report which goes out this week at UPA Hunter Region's AGM.

If you are interested in conducting satisfaction surveys either manually or online - Email the QPS Benchmarking Office or phone (02) 4229 5880 today for more information.