Social Enterprise Partnerships


Empowering Australians



Doing It Ourselves in Aged Care, Chronic and
Mental Illness, Disability and Special Education

Melbourne 2-3 May 2011

Register Here

This conference  will review developments towards self-management of supports and services in disability, aged care, chronic illness, mental health and special education.

It will examine working models from around Australia, and explore strategies for improving self-management practice and enhancing infrastructure, technology, peer and professional supports.

The style of the conference will be one of learning from peers, sharing information, and networking to take advantage of best practice.

Key Speakers

Lyn Zanchetta manages her 40 year old daughter Lisa's Home First disability package. [photo, right: Lyn and Lisa]

Margaret Gray managed her 92 year old mother's EACH aged care package.

Siegried Drews managed his wife Mardi's 24 hour care needs through a technology portal he designed himself to assist in the direct employment of staff.

Suzette Gallagher has managed her 45 year old son Shaun's disability package for 20 years.

George Vassilou manages both his ageing mother's care package and his 23 year old daughter Natasha's disability package.

Papers, presentations, workshops and displays are invited on the conference themes.

Abstracts in no more than 300 words should be forwarded by 31  March 2011.

CLICK HERE to express an interest in contributing a paper or presentation. 

Click here for further information


Lyn Zanchetta - Disability

My daughter Lisa is 40 years old. She was born with Spina Bifida, and several years ago, was diagnosed with kerato-conus (thinning of the cornea).  Lisa is wheelchair bound, and has a busy life.

She attends Dualware 3 days a week, Tafe 1 and a half days, cooking on a Friday afternoon, plus many social activities.

Lisa was originally on the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) Home First Program, and since May 1st 2008, I have been managing Lisa's support package ($60,000) myself, doing Direct Payments and Direct Employment.

I have a team of 6 carers. They all follow a care plan, and they all receive a good hourly rate, much more than any service provider would pay.

I pay them fortnightly, and do the quarterly tax, super, and group certificates at the end of the financial year. I prepare all contracts, pay workcover, and as we have control of Lisa's package, we are able to use it all on Lisa's care and equipment.

And Lisa's health has improved, with the good quality of care she now receives.

These arrangements cut out the middle man (service provider) who would take around $18-20,000 of the $60,000 to manage the fund. This money goes back into Lisa's support and is spent on her needs, not the greedy needs of Service Providers.

I have enquired about paying myself a small admin fee, but while DHS permits Service Providers to take 33%, they will not allow a parent to take 3%.

Will the Department encourage other families to do as I am doing? Service Providers are going to be the big stopper in this area, as they do not want to miss out on the BIG MONEY.

I think DHS has to be open and let families and people with disabilities manage their own lives, and the Act allows us to do so now. The Department still keeps us in the dark, while they keep Service Providers in the loop about everything.

There is a long way to go, and we need a strong movement of parents to keep DHS and the government honest and keep them focused on the needs of people like Lisa and not on the needs of the Service Providers.

Click here to register your interest in Lyn and Lisa's model if you or a family member receive a disability support  package.

Margaret Gray - Ageing

My mother will be 92 in November. She has no dementia but is ACAS-assessed as High Care as she is wheelchair bound and frail. She lives with my husband and I in outer metropolitan Melbourne in a house we bought to accommodate her care. In January 2010 we were allocated an EACH aged care package.

[The photo below is of Mum holding her 6th great grand child, my 4th grandson, Quentin, in June this year. He is not yet 24 hrs old.]

The EACH package is worth $43,205. It appears there is no requirement for Approved Providers to allocate the entire package value to my mother’s requirements. Indeed I have been told that if someone else has higher needs, as decided by the “professionals” employed by the Approved Provider, then we should feel it is appropriate that others should receive a “top-up’ from those with “lesser” needs, something caller Brokering I believe.

This means that only 75% of the package, or $32,409, is available for services for mum, which must be accessed using an agency and the rule of thumb here is that work is charged at a 50% mark-up on the rates actually paid. [When an agency charges a flat hourly rate of $36.50, care workers are paid $19.]

This means in real terms of worker hourly payments we receive hours amounting to $32,409 / 2, or $16,204 of hours service.

That is, we are only receiving services to the value of 38% of the EACH package.

The Provider never wants to talk about budgets and financial management of our Package but feels it is fine to ask for a co-payment on top of their 25% cut for administration and unwanted case management.

Eventually it was the lack of financial transparency that allowed me to see significant parallels with the Financial Services Industry and the current airing of public and government concerns. From this parallel and the proven effectiveness of Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs), we came up with a model of Real Consumer Directed Care which is applicable in many areas of aged care, disability and family services.

My husband and I have a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF). We pay a specialised company to provide information and services, including set-up & statutary reporting requirements – much less than 25%. We make our own informed decisions, have flexibility and are in control of all administration costs apart from legislated payments.

When I read the Aged Care Act I could see no reason why this same model will not work for motivated carers to be Self Managed Providers (SMPs).

Of a package of $43,205, our overheads are $4,448, leaving $38,757 for hours of service instead of the $16,204 that the Approved Industry Providers leave us.

This approach increases available funding for real service delivery by a staggering 52%, that is from a current 38% to 90% of the package.

This SMP model allows mum and I to achieve our goal of "no more out-of-home residential respite".

The new Department of Health and Ageing Consumer Directed Care models and research projects are well-meaning but suffer from a conflict of interest by association with the current Industry Providers. I am concerned that these models are still full of administration fees for the Industry. My model is not one that I would expect to be put forward by the Industry Providers as they may stand to lose significant funding dollars.

Click here to register your interest in Margaret's model if you or a family member receive an aged care package.

Siegfried Drews - Health and Disability

I retired about seven years after a career in the corporate world, but life took an unexpected turn when my wife Mardi developed Motor Neurone Disease. I became busy coordinating her care, which involved 24 hour nursing support, and having carers coming through the house at all hours.

Over the past five years, I have developed a technology platform to support the planning, logistics, administration and reporting functions associated with supporting Mardi's care. I found that doing all this manually is a nightmare. I also found that the agencies that supply carers can't be relied on, and so I've developed a match-making system for families who need carers to find and employ them directly. It's like an internet dating service for families who need carers.

The result is a portal through which Mardi's carers could be employed, rostered and paid electronically, other supports and services can be budgeted for, purchased and accounted for, and her public funders (the Victorian DHS) can view the flow of people and money as they wish. The portal integrates planning, budgeting, financial transactions, reporting, and local networking (if required) in a format applicable to children and adults in disability, chronic illness, mental health, aged care and education.

I am getting old so I have no interest in commercialising this. There will be no licencing or contracts. It will be free for users with the exception of a set-up fee (which I want to keep as low as possible) and an optional fee for customisation (if required). Its purpose is to enable self-management and to leverage integrated person-centred arrangements for consumers and families on a very large scale.

The portal is currently being trialled in two settings in Victoria. I will be available from the beginning of 2011 for large scale use.

It is incredible that the business practices of service providers in the field of care are about 30 years behind the rest of industry. We need a lot of political pressure from people with disabilities and families to force them to catch up and focus on the 'customer' and not on themselves.

Click here to register your interest in Sieg's technology platform for self-management.

A Web-Based Tool for Self-Management

Siegfried's self-management tool is called Web2Care. It was developed as a web-based portal through which his wife Mardi's carers could be rostered and paid electronically; additional supports could be budgeted, purchased and accounted for; a complete financial account could be generated electronically, and Mardi's public funders could view the flow of people and money as they wish.

The portal also contains a match-making function linking support workers with people who are seeking support workers, so that support workers and support recipients can directly find each without having to work through agencies.

CLICK HERE to see a presentation on Web2Care.

The tool has three modules:

The Rostering Tool (Admin2Care) enables you to produce a roster of support, share this roster online with support workers so that variations can be made easily, with a time-tracker device for recording time worked, a wage and costs calculator, and a payslips, invoices, and report generator.

The Match-Taking Tool (Match2Care) enables support workers and people requiring support workers to find each other using a visual data base built on Google Maps to enable local matches, with search results linking to support workers and support recipients' profile pages, and to respective rosters showing 'Vacant Shifts' and 'Support Worker Availability'.

The Accounting Tool (Account2Care) enables you to keep track of all financial transactions and generate reports, not only related to your support activity, but to private and other business matters if you wish.

The process for participation is simple: consumers/families are invited to express an interest in this self-management tool. An initial assessment is made on suitability, and on approval participants register on the web-based system. Data entry is end-user controlled and maintained. 

Click here to register your interest in Sieg's technology platform for self-management.

Click here for further information


© Social Enterprise Partnerships 2011

If you no longer wish to receive updates from Social Enterprise Partnerships, simply reply to this email with the word 'UNSUBSCRIBE' in the subject field.