A LASA survey of aged care providers estimated that almost half of packages had unspent funds, and reported that the average amount per client increased from $4255 (June 2017) to $5,862 (March 2018). In this context there is increasing pressure from Government on home care package providers to address reduce unspent funds. The Department of Health has identified several possible contributing factors, including clients choosing to hold contingency funds, automatic package upgrades, and the taking of temporary leave.
However, there is currently little published research into the clients’ perspectives on the reasons for this, and no indication of what level of underspend is considered acceptable.
This qualitative study aimed to identify and explore the variety of complex reasons which underlie decisions by home care package recipients about how to use their package funds.
The research explored a range of factors which may be influencing home care package clients’ spending decisions, including individual-level factors; organisational (service provider) factors; and systemic factors (e.g., application and assessment processes).
The study sample was selected using a stratified random sampling approach. The client population of a single Victorian home care provider was stratified into two groups: those with a significant level of unspent funds, and those without. Clients invited to take part in the study were randomly selected from within each group. Thirty (30) semi-structured interviews were completed, with the client and/or the client representative, depending on who makes the decisions. Interview transcripts were analysed to determine emerging themes, using a grounded theory approach.
Key learnings from the research will be outlined in the presentation, with respect to the key factors that influence home care package clients’ spending behaviours. The implications of the findings will also be presented, for home care package provider practice, and for policy.
This presentation will be of benefit to all organisations who are home care package providers.


Day 3, 11:00am – 11:30am – Decision Making in Home Care Package Spending: Qualitative Research on Unspent funds.

Veronica Jamison is the General Manager of Primary and Home Care at Benetas. She has extensive experience in the aged care industry and over 30 years in the health and community services sector. She has previously held CEO and senior executive roles in both rural Victorian and Metropolitan Melbourne Health Services and with the Aged Care Industry Peak Body, LASA. Veronica is a strong strategic and operational planner skilled at working collaboratively to drive change agendas with a focus on achieving positive service and care outcomes for people. Veronica is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Managers, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a member of the Australian Human Resources Institute and is a Board Director of Shepparton Retirement Villages. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology & Philosophy),a Masters of Business and a Masters of Human Resources Management. Veronica’s areas of professional interest include Quality and Safety, Corporate and Clinical Governance and People and Culture