Faculty of Health, Arts and Design

Health and Ageing Research Group

Consumer choice and control

Consumer-directed care in residential aged care (NHMRC Partnership Grant)

The introduction of Consumer Directed Care (CDC) in home care recognises the pivotal role of personal choice and control in managing care and maximising the quality of life of older Australians. Determining the best approach to implementing CDC in the residential aged care setting will be imperative to its success.

The application of CDC to Australian Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) will require a revolutionary change in the service delivery mindset.

We have developed a training program to guide the implementation of CDC in the residential aged care setting. This project will support this revolution through the implementation and evaluation (efficacy and cost) of our training program, the Resident at the Centre of Care (RCC).

The Resident at the Centre of Care program

Our RCC training program provides Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) with a model for the implementation of CDC. The program includes development of clinical skills (e.g. communications with residents) and information gathering tools (e.g. the Resident Care Form) to operationalise a consumer-directed care plan, but also, importantly, provides training to support organisational change and transformational leadership that will be required for RACFs to make the significant shift from current resident care models to CDC practices.

The 5-session RCC program has been implemented by our CDC facilitators in Melbourne and Queensland RACFs and has identified and examined barriers and enablers to:

  • Improve communication between residents and staff;
  • Implement a resident-driven care plan (the Resident Care Form);
  • Foster transformational leadership (in senior staff); and
  • Work towards organisational change to accommodate CDC. 

Our project addresses these challenges by training staff in RACFs to meet the often-complex individual care needs of each care recipient, substantial regulatory burden, and mounting consumer expectations of aged care services, including consumers demanding greater choice in their care, and to be treated with dignity and have greater autonomy and independence. 

The RCC program has been evaluated in terms of the resident quality of life (QoL) and satisfaction with care, RACF staff satisfaction (via stress, turnover), organisational improvements (adherence to CDC) and program cost (economic evaluation). No other program designed to implement CDC in RACFs has been delivered and evaluated in Australia. Importantly, this project will inform government on CDC implementation strategies in RACFs, and highlight the economic costs for organisations to become “CDC ready”.


  • Professor Marita McCabe | Swinburne University of Technology
  • Professor David Mellor | Deakin University
  • Professor Elizabeth Beattie | Queensland University of Technology
  • Professor Kathryn von Treuer | Cairnmillar Institute
  • Associate Professor Gery Karantzas | Deakin University
  • Associate Professor Belinda Goodenough | NSW/ACT Dementia Training Centre
  • Professor Kerrie Sanders | University of Melbourne
  • Dr Michelle Bennett | Australian Catholic University
  • Dr Lucy Busija | Monash University

Research team

  • Jessica Byers | Psychologist MPsych, Project Coordinator
  • Lily Baccon | BSc(Hons), Research Assistant
  • Priscilla Marietta | Psychologist MPsych(EdDev), Research Assistant
  • Michelle Younger | Physiotherapist MPhysio, Training Facilitator
  • Olivia Karle | Speech Pathologist MSLP, Training Facilitator