Supporting practitioners working with older people and people living with a disability

A complex and fragmented service system can be challenging for consumers, carers and practitioners to navigate and can present barriers to the delivery of a quality person-centred response. These issues can be partly addressed by supporting service practitioners to implement service coordination principles and practices, including sharing information about each other’s roles, service eligibility criteria, and ways to streamline access pathways, as well as opportunities to collaborate.

What did we do?

The Service Coordination Practitioners Network (SCPN) was established by the IEPCP to provide primary health and community service practitioners with a platform to share best practice in the coordination of services that enhanced the health, wellbeing and independence of people, particularly older people, living in the IEPCP catchment.

The SCPN:

  • Connected people who worked in the field and provided an opportunity for communicating and sharing experiences
  • Promoted collaboration to facilitate the coordination of services and address issues that affected clients, practitioners and their organisations
  • Stimulated learning and helped people towards best practice
  • Assisted practitioners working in the Inner East PCP catchment to better meet the needs of clients and their organisations.

This was achieved through regular meetings with guest speakers and information sharing; electronic information updates about reforms, research, tools, resources and events; and practitioner seminars, events and workshops on relevant topics such as dementia, consent, depression and anxiety, and advance care planning.

Membership of the Network was open to all practitioners working in health and community services in the IEPCP catchment, with 155 members from 40 organisations across a range of sectors in August 2017.

The SCPN was supported by a small Reference Group of practitioners.

Key outcomes

The achievements of the SCPN were most directly related to the practitioners who were members, and indirectly to their organisations and clients.

The network played a key part in ensuring service coordination practices and principles were well understood and provided a platform for organisations to meet and share information with each other about their services. This has a direct effect on clients and their ability to access the right services at the right time. Key outcomes were:

  • In a 2016 survey, 94% of SCPN members reported the SCPN assisted them to acquire useful knowledge about primary health and other services and programs, and benefitted from the ability to disseminate information about their own organisation’s services and activities
  • Participants most highly valued the opportunity for networking and peer support, and it was noted to be particularly useful to new practitioners
  • 87% of people who responded to a survey about the information updates were very or extremely satisfied with the relevance of the information updates to their work with 80% saying they were very or extremely likely to share the information with others.
  • Feedback was elicited from participants of the practitioner seminars with 85% of all participants finding them useful, very useful or extremely useful for their work; 88% of participants were likely, very likely or extremely likely to put what they learned into practice.

The success of the SCPN was based on:

  • Having a shared goal to come together (eg. Service Coordination implementation and later understanding the aged care reforms)
  • Providing speakers and presentations that are relevant for the member’s needs
  • Communicating in a timely way about meeting dates, times and venues
  • Being open to feedback and responding to suggestions in a constructive way
  • Recruiting a leadership group to advise on and support the network activities and direction
  • Providing opportunity at meetings for participants to talk to each other (such as morning tea time).

How did the PCP contribute to this success?

The SCPN was an initiative of the IEPCP as a way to embed service coordination principles into agency practices. Over time this provided a platform to have broader discussion and information sharing that supported service coordination and the delivery of more integrated services. The IEPCP role was significant to the ongoing planning of meetings, sourcing guest speakers and presenters for events, and seeking content for regular electronic updates.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

Sign up to IEPCP E-News