What to consider with self-managed care

Nov 24, 2021 | Australian Aged Care, Carers Advice

If you are looking at self-managed care for yourself or a loved one, it’s a great time to look at what you need to do to make things happen.

Understanding what you want from care together with knowing what people, places and resources available to you is vital. As is having a clear outline and vision of your values, goals and wishes.

At ExSitu, we’re all about marrying the frameworks, options and systems to what you want as an individual.

That why we’ve put together some information what you might need to consider before entering into a self-managed care arrangement.

What kind of planner are you?

Self-managed care is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Which is great because not all perceptions of what care looks like are universal!

Understanding what useful support looks like to you plays an important role in defining the level of care and kind of care you are suited to.

A great way to consider your self-managed care options is to think about how you manage tasks or projects.

If you are the sort of person who loves rolling up their sleeves, ticking loads of boxes on the TO DO list while comparing possible solutions and ideas, you’ll probably want more autonomy and control over your care than someone who doesn’t.

Similarly, if you prefer to reduce the decision-making at all costs and work with one point of contact rather than different suppliers, you may want to delegate more of the load.

When considering how you’ll respond to care, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you like to do things yourself most of the time? Or do you prefer to delegate?
  • Do you get energised by organising and managing? Or do you prefer to be more hands off?
  • Do you believe variety is the spice of life? Or do you prefer a routine?
  • Do you enjoy talking to lots of people? Or are you more introverted?
  • Do you like to be in command most of the time? Or do you pick and choose your battles?

The beautiful thing about your self-managed care options is you can be involved as much or as little as you’d like. You can be as hands on you need to be. You can opt to be as involved on the ground – or from the manager’s seat. That way, you can strike a personal balance between the level of detail you care about and the time, money and energy spent directing your care.

Who is available to support you?

Self-managed care is all about giving you the autonomy, choice and experience you desire. To do so, that means looking at the available supports you have. And that means including services in your local area as well as the in-kind support you may receive from friends, relatives and your community.

Where you are located and your ready access to some supports may determine the care options available to you. For example, if you live in a regional area or out of town, you may need to consider your options more carefully than others.

It might also come down to supply and demand. This is why it is always good to have a Plan B or even a Plan C if you encounter a waiting list.

Friends and family can also play a big role in providing self-managed care. And that means having some honest conversations about what that care entails, who is available and checking to make sure the care can be provided as consistently as you need it.

This might also entail looking at resources such as Carers Allowance, Carer Payment or Young Carers Payment.

Many people with self-managed care also benefit from looking further afield. For example, your neighbourhood and informal support networks within aged care and end-of-life support. With a growing number of Australians seeking to manage their care for longer, there are a wide variety of options to choose from. And this number is increasing all the time.

A few questions to help you determine your care network include:

  • Who is available to help you on a regular basis?
  • What does that regularity entail?
  • What kinds of services in your local area interest you?
  • What other supports outside paid and government sources do you have available?
  • What are your second choices if the first ones are unavailable?

How do you prefer your time and money is spent?

No matter the services and supports, there will need to be funds available to provide for your care. However, self-managed care options provide a greater choice and transparency when it comes to the cost of these services and supports.

And this can suit your personality when it comes to money to a tee.

As an overview, you can opt to:

Manage how your funds are spent

You can be as hands on with service supplied and paying for them as you would like. You can review the costs, approve the payments and nominate when and where those payments for services will be made.

Pro: This also leads in a reduction of costs through lower administration fees.

Con: You need to be involved in paying invoices and more granular decisions about money. This will often mean using a computer to manage your payments as well as taking out time each week to do admin.

Delegate the administration

Just like you can book a wedding planner to sort out your big day or a travel agent to book your next trip, you can also make use of carer organisations to manage your supplies. Instead of approving every single transaction (or varying degrees within that), you can allow a fully informed individual or organisation handle the money on your behalf.

Pro: You can delegate the responsibility, freeing up your time for other activities.

Cons: You will pay additional fees to have someone complete a task for you.

Like most situations in life, it comes down to whether your time or your money is more important to you. The good thing is, both situations are incredibly transparent about what you do and don’t pay for. So, if you feel like making changes for any reason, you can do so safe in the knowledge you are making an informed decision.

What are your goals?

From sunup to sundown through every stage of your life, you have made choices about who you are and what life means to you. That meant setting goals in health, education, wealth, and family..

Each step of the way, these decisions large and small have defined who you are. And it is these decisions form the base of your self-managed care plan.

Your self-managed care plan is a model for the day-to-day. It also includes what you would like to maintain and achieve.

For example:

  • What does a good day look like to you?
  • How much excitement, variety and interaction do you need to make that happen?
  • Have you got friendships and connections you would like to maintain?
  • What activities and commitments do they involve?
  • How does your health play a role in this?
  • What do you need to maintain and/or improve your current health profile?

Understanding your daily, short-term and long-term goals helps inform your care needs.

How good is your current documentation foundation?

All good care plans require careful thought and planning to work. Including the best foundation means thinking of scenarios that might impact your self-managed care in both temporary and permanent settings.

This is where an advance care plan and the ExSitu Hierarchy of Values help answer a lot of questions.

ExSitu gives you the opportunity to define when a medical event might have too bigger impact for you to stay at home. And what level of recovery might be required to get you back home again. There may be decisions about how care is given in relation to what you do and don’t want people doing for you. And what the trade off might mean.

For example – if you are unable to get up and down off the toilet, are you OK with accepting help until your back heals to stay at home? Or would you rather leave that to the nursing staff at a care facility and come home when you are healed?

Your ability to activate your self-managed care plan faster can be dramatically improved by having an advance care plan and the Hierarchy of Values in place. You can have these documents in place well before self-managed care even becomes part of the decision-making process.

Want help with self-managed care?

We highly recommend checking out information from COTA – Self managed resources and tools.

Want help taking the first steps to your self-managed care? Get in touch with ExSitu now. We’re here to help you define what great care looks like to you.


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