Practicing co-creation in aged care.

We look for the organisation that listens. We love the organisation that includes us in decisions, and acts upon our suggestions.

Today’s aged care organisation operates in a context of fierce competition, and high consumer expectations. Not only should it co-create in order to compete, under CDC legislation it must co-create and deliver services strongly aligned to each individual’s desires and wishes.

Government continues to recognise that the aged care organisation is best able to serve the needs of older Australians. Local governments are reducing funding under the Home and Community Care (HACC) scheme and to organisations such as Active Ageing and selling facilities to private providers.

In a recent article, we explained the concepts of co-creation and co-design in aged care. This article further explores the concept of co-creation, with a few examples of how it can be applied in practice.

Co-creation in practice.

When a diverse range of resources, knowledge and expertise are brought together, the synergies are endless. Here are a few examples of what an aged care organisation can gain through co-creation with various groups.

Residents and families

With co-creation, residents and families have greater input into the services which are delivered, including life-style programs, menus, health services, perhaps even extending to facility design. For example, to better understand the needs of a particular cultural group, the organisation may create a forum to work with the community in designing culturally relevant care. These processes could take place through gamification, with residents entering a competition to ‘design a single ensuite room’. In this way, families and residents are not only listened to, but included in the decision making process.

Advocate groups

Co-creation with an advocacy organisation such as COTA enables the aged care organisation to gain expertise and build community trust. The organisation is able to understand and solve the complex issues facing older Australians today on a more informed and deeper level.

Local government

Local governments have been responsible for the delivery and regulation of a wide range of services delivered to older people including health, aged care, financial and legal services, food, entertainment, technology and community participation. Therefore, co-creation with local government brings with it a wide range of expertise, resources and community connections to expand the range of solutions and services delivered.

Health service providers

When co-creating services, health care providers such as physiotherapists, psychologists, dentists, pharmacists, nutritionists, GPs and podiatrists can contribute experience and expertise to develop services that address the specific needs of older people. As an example, psychologists and physiotherapists may help devise a program with the aged care provider to enhance social and physical activity, which in turn addresses mental health issues and improves well-being.


Co-creation delivers a number of benefits to the organisation, including product and service innovation, improved integration of services with other providers, new and more resilient revenue streams and business sustainability. At the same time, the community benefits from better services, greater engagement, participation and social impacts, improved health and well-being, greater value for money and empowerment of consumers.

There are many choices available to the consumer today. Let the consumer press the buttons. They will help your organisation deliver the best service, ensuring long term sustainability in a competitive market.

Talk to us about co-creation.

Image credit: Otto Yamamoto via Flickr creative commons