Evaluation of the Pathways Home Program

Project Type - Acute Care


  • 2007


The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) engaged Health Outcomes International (HOI) to undertake an evaluation of the Pathways Home Program (PHP) and to recommend opportunities for how the program could be improved.

The objectives of the PHP were to:

  • maximise quality of life and independence, particularly for older people following hospital treatment
  • strengthen capacity for service provision
  • foster a culture of responding to needs of patients, particularly older Australians
  • improve the measurement of performance in this area.

The evaluation was required to address five key questions:

  1. Are the objectives of the Pathways Home Program being achieved?
  2. How has the program contributed to an increase in the capacity of States and Territories to provide rehabilitation and step-down     services and to improve client access to these services?
  3. Is the program complementing or duplicating other programs which have a similar focus?
  4. How effectively has the program been implemented and administered by the States and Territories?
  5. How could the Pathways Home Program be improved?

The key methodological components for the evaluation included:

  • preparation of a Situation Analysis Discussion Paper informed by a review of the documentation, initial discussions with the Department and nominated stakeholders, and the findings of the literature review
  • development of an evaluation framework which set out the program logic, the key result areas and the key questions to be asked of each stakeholder group and associated indicative key performance indicators.  
  • development of a data collection instrument informed by the Evaluation Framework.
  • extensive stakeholder consultations:
    • face to face and telephone meetings were held with nominated Department of Health and Ageing representatives, representatives of State health jurisdictions responsible for the Pathways Home Program, nominated project contact officers and Aged Care organisations.
    • a workshop was conducted with all health jurisdictions and DoHA representatives where a draft Evaluation Framework was presented for stakeholder discussion and input.
    • service provider survey of all funded projects 
    • 20 case studies were conducted to facilitate a detailed understanding of the projects, their impact on the development of service capacity and access, the key issues that occurred during development and implementation and to identify potential areas for future policy and program development.

HOI produced a comprehensive and evidence based final report, providing HOI an analysis of the key findings and recommendations around:

  • quality of life and independence of older people
  • increased service capacity
  • increased capacity and access to rehabilitation and step-down services
  • support for early discharge strategies
  • support for service planning and benchmarking
  • linkages with other programs
  • barriers to implementation
  • sustainability of projects  
  • opportunities for improvement