Evaluation of the LIAISE Program
journal contributionposted on 2017-06-07, 06:08 authored by Summers, Michael, Batterham, Roy
This is an evaluation of a three year pilot program, LIAISE, which provides independent living skills training and community integration assistance to people with acquired brain injury who are living in the Victorian Department of Human Services' Southern Metropolitan Region. A combination of methods, including program theory, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and case studies were used in the evaluation. It was found that LIAISE has gradually shifted from primarily providing independent living skills training to a more holistic focus with a substantial increase in the amount of case management services provided. The need for a more holistic approach was substantiated by the literature. In regards to the value and usefulness of LIAISE to its clients and their families, the evaluation was overwhelmingly positive. Many of these people had been living for many years with little or no assistance from the health and community services sector, and found that the quality of their lives substantially improved with their involvement in LIAISE. Service providers interviewed also clearly valued LIAISE and emphasised the gap in services that it now fills. It was therefore recommended that the LIAISE program continue. Recommendations were also made regarding the need to maintain a flexible and holistic approach to meeting the needs of people with ABI living in the community. It is less clear whether LIAISE represents value-for-money and will be viable under the Victorian Department of Human Service's unit costing funding system. Typically unit costing is based primarily on the hours of direct service provision (direct being defined as time spent with the client). LIAISE's direct client hours as a proportion of staff time is approximately half that of other similar services. Given the level of client and service provider satisfaction with the service it may be that the mix of client and non-client time curently provided is generally appropriate, but It was recommended that some small improvements be made to increase direct client time. It was also noted that the application of unit cost funding to LIAISE needed to support rather than restrict its flexibility and the range of services provided.