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My money matters - findings from direct payments research
Karen Fisher, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New
South Wales, Sydney
Australia is following the international trend in the organisation of social services of direct payments from government to consumers to purchase their care on an open market. Rationales include improved consumer control, quality and efficiency. Similarly however, individualised funding without adequate program support can also pose risks to quality and cost. A state government is operating the first full direct payments option for people with disability in Australia - Attendant Care Program (ACP) direct funding. The option is available for people with physical disability with high personal care needs, who have the capacity to directly manage administration of attendant care funding. The paper presents findings from the research that show that quality, control and flexibility of care improved, which enhanced participants' quality of life outcomes. It explores the participants' opinions about why consumer financial control made such a difference to controlling the quality of their care, despite similar goals for control in the other options of organising ACP.
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