Kelly, C., Jamal, A., Aubrecht, K., and Grenier, A. (2020). Emergent issues in directly-funded care: Canadian perspectives. Journal of Aging and Social Policy, Online April 22, 2020. DOI: 10.1080/08959420.2020.1745736
Publication year: 2020

Direct Funding (DF) provides individuals with a budget to arrange their own home care instead of receiving publicly arranged services. DF programs have evolved in a number of countries since the 1970s. In Canada, while small-scale DF programs have existed since the early 1970s, the research on these programs remains limited. Responding to gaps identified by an umbrella review and using a health equity framework, this research extends the knowledge base on DF programs from a Canadian perspective through an environmental scan. The research asks: What are the features of DF programs across Canada? What are the emerging issues related to program design and policy development? The study employed a qualitative environmental scan design, gathering data through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews (n = 23). The findings include a summary table describing features of 20 programs and two interview themes: a lack of information on DF workers and concerns about the growing role of home care agencies. This study has the potential to contribute to long-term health equity monitoring research. The findings suggest that as DF expands in Canada, promoting hiring from personal networks may address inequities in rural access to home care services and improve social outcomes for linguistic, cultural, and sexual minorities. However, the findings underscore a need to monitor access to DF programs by people of lower-socioeconomic backgrounds in Canada and discourage policy design that requires independent self-management, which disadvantages people with compromised decision-making capacities.

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