Booraja Home Care: IRT Foundation Addresses Low Participation Rates Among First Australians

4 years ago
innovAGEING > Case Studies > Booraja Home Care: IRT Foundation Addresses Low Participation Rates Among First Australians


In July 2017, IRT Foundation commenced an Integrated Aboriginal Home Care pilot (“Booraja”) funded by the Australian Government’s Dementia and Age Care Services Innovation Fund (DACS), which aims to increase participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in consumer-directed care.

Older Aboriginal people are underrepresented in accessing home care in Australia, and the low participation rates in the home care system are due to three key barriers:

  • Low levels of trust of government services
  • Limited knowledge of available services
  • Lack of a cultural workforce

Engaging with first Australians

Booraja is a service delivery model that supports independence of ageing Aboriginal people to remain in their own homes and connected to their community. Based on self-determination, Booraja gives first Australians choice and control over the services they access to deliver their care needs.

Booraja tackles barriers to participation through:

  • Community Yarn Up sessions to educate potential care workers and care recipients, as well as families and community more broadly, on the employment opportunities within home care.
  • Development of a culturally competent workforce. Younger Aboriginal people were recruited for Booraja and commenced the Certificate III in Individual Support qualification to meet the care needs of older Aboriginal people.
  • Tailoring of the range of services, including the addition of cultural care services, as led by the local Elders’ Council.

Reablement and seamless experience is delivered through a seven-stage identification process of individual’s knowledge of home care, assisting them to access Booraja. This approach is also reflected in the Single Aged Care Quality Standards promoting services and supports for daily living.

  1. No knowledge of home care
  2. Limited knowledge of home care
  3. Seeking GP referral
  4. Need assistance accessing MyAgedCare
  5. Awaiting ACAT Assessment, need assistance
  6. Package approved, needs to be allocated
  7. Package allocated, want to transfer to culturally appropriate

Through the multi-faceted involvement of community, Booraja respects the nuanced approach required to effectively engage and support Aboriginal people in complex environments. Elders are shaping the model of care and cultural care, and Booraja care workers were involved in tailoring the delivery of their training program. This supports the Charter of Aged Care Rights ensuring consumers “have their identity, culture and diversity valued and supported”.

Promising results

Holistic wellness is realised through development of services in partnership with the Walbanga Elders’ Council who provide insight and feedback on culturally appropriate services, as well as provide local ties and connections.

The project management team actions ongoing feedback, while an independent consultancy specialising in Aboriginal service delivery programs is evaluating the pilot. The findings will contribute to specific cultural group understanding, as well as understanding application of a program model that puts culture and customer at its core.

Results of this approach to-date:

  • Eight of the 10 Care Workers who commenced the Certificate III in May 2018 are still participating in the workforce.
  • 12 of the 15 older Aboriginal people receiving care had no prior knowledge of home care.
  • A Project Management Team employs a further three local Aboriginal staff in leadership positions.

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