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Geneva Healthcare defends Clients’ rights to choose

Geneva Healthcare defends Clients’ rights to choose their Carers

Geneva Healthcare has recently faced criticism from some support workers who are part of the union opposing the company’s new online homecare service, My Homecare, giving Geneva’s clients the right to choose who cares for them.

“Geneva supports vulnerable Clients - those with a disability, illness, recovering from injury or the elderly,” says Veronica Manion, Geneva’s Chief Executive. “Personal care, by nature, is a personal right, so how empowering is it to get a say about who comes into your home. We think most New Zealanders would find it extremely reassuring knowing they had a choice in who was coming into their home to care for them or a family member”, she adds.

According to the Health & Disability Commissioner, everyone (clients) using a health or disability service in New Zealand is protected by a code of rights, The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights. It specifies clients have the “right to be fully informed” and the “right to make an informed choice and give informed consent.”

“My Homecare has been created with the people we care for in mind, New Zealanders who are vulnerable and in need of support. It’s important for us to ensure we give those people ‘a voice,’ after all, it is their life we’re talking about here. We’ve listened to them and responded with a technology solution that gives them choice, control and visibility of information to assist them to make informed decisions. In many other aspects of our lives, we get to choose who we would prefer. When we call a doctor, a counsellor, a dentist, a hairdresser or a masseuse, we get to ask for our preference; after that it becomes a matter of deciding whether it’s important for us to wait for an appointment with our preferred provider of that service; or our needs might be urgent enough that we just opt for who’s available who’s equally qualified. Why should it not be the same with choosing who should provide personal care? We had an elderly male client who had prostate cancer and needed assistance with going to the toilet and spoke very little English. He and his family insisted on having a male support worker who could speak their language and providing the right person to provide that support made a huge difference to his wellbeing”, she says.

With My Homecare, Clients are given the option to manage their care services online including choosing the services they need and choosing their own qualified and Geneva Certified Support Workers based on Carer’s skillset, training, and location. Client’s requests are then reviewed by Geneva Care Coordinators so that Geneva can provide clinical governance and find the best match, just like in its current model of care. Geneva has so far received very good feedback from the DHBs where the platform is being trialled.

Ms. Manion shares the concerns for better support worker pay and conditions. She agrees the current payment for carer transport costs is not fair and regrets Geneva was not involved when the legislation was discussed and designed between the government and the unions. She is keen for Geneva to take an active part in reviewing this funding structure to look for better solutions.

She also said Geneva’s Support Worker Mobile App that automatically logs start and finish of cares, as well as carers' travel times, creates transparency and increases the reliability of data against government funding. While some were initially concerned, there’s a greater number of support worker advocates singing the Apps praises. “It's been a breeze using it. I really don’t know why I got so worked up over changing to Geneva LIVE Mobile App. I’m looking forward to using it more”, says one support worker. “I certainly would recommend the new Geneva LIVE Mobile App to other support workers. It is easy, very convenient and has added features to use. It is so much quicker than the time involved using a paper timesheet. By the time you have got the paper timesheet out, found a pen, waited for your Client to sign the paper timesheet, it might have taken up to ten minutes. The Geneva LIVE Mobile App instantly uploads your job to payroll once you click ‘end job’, you don't have to think about it again.” says another Geneva support worker from Whangarei.

“At the end of the day, we are dealing with people and managing the need for change. Change can be quite scary but at times inevitable and something we need to embrace so we can do our job. The demand for healthcare services is always increasing, and we need to find smart solutions to balancing the funding pressure from the government with the need for more healthcare workers. Automation is one solution that can help us to become more efficient and do what’s required of us. The more we automate things, the more money we can use on giving back to our staff”, says Ms Manion.


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