Innovation that is Changing Community Care and Delivering Real Choice

Tony Charara and Peter Scutt

Peter Scutt will be speaking on ‘What giving real choice and control means for the consumer and your organisation’ at the Getting Ready for Increased Consumer Control conference which will be held on the 25th & 26th of November at Mercure Sydney. Click here to register.

“We needed someone who could offer more than a walk or a light meal, we wanted someone who could provide Dad with more enjoyable pastimes.”

Since starting Better Caring 12 months ago, we have had feedback from many customers seeking more from their care service, for a range of reasons. These include a desire to have a care worker who speaks their cultural language, or cooks the special meals they like, or takes them to the places they really want to go.

People like choice. We equate having choices with having control. Our survival instincts tell us that we’ll survive if we have control. So it’s our powerful subconscious that keeps us seeking control, and it’s the desire for control that keeps us seeking choices.

In her book, The Art of Choosing, Sheena Iyengar highlights the cultural differences that arise when offered choice. One example she tells is of the occasion she asked for sugar in her green tea at a Japanese restaurant. This was resisted by the waiter because according to his cultural standards the request was inappropriate. From her (American) perspective though, as a paying customer she had every right to have her reasonable request based on her preferences met. But from the Japanese perspective, it’s their duty to protect those who don’t know better.

We need to be careful not to inadvertently limit choice

We need to be mindful in community care not to let our historic perspectives or assumptions inadvertently limit consumer choice.

Being human includes an innate right to be valued and respected. The vulnerable in our society – whether through ageing, disability, health or misadventure – deserve to be offered choice and control; two pillars of human dignity.

That’s the premise of what we offer at Better Caring. We want clients to be able to easily, conveniently and transparently choose the services and supports they want, and who they want to deliver them, without the high cost.  For us, Consumer Directed Care is about ready access to diverse choice, control, transparency and affordability.