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I want everyone to know that aged care is absolutely a priority for me. Together we can build a better system of care in Australia.

TREATING OLDER AUSTRALIANS WITH THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety final report challenges the Australian Government to create better-aged care services and a better standard of care for older Australians. The Government is committed to meeting this challenge and making changes to aged care to deliver security, dignity, quality, and humanity for every older Australian across our aged care system. We all have an obligation – Government, older Australians, their families and carers, workers, providers and policy advocates – to work together and do everything we can to achieve a better-aged care system. Below is an overview of some of the changes we are making to improve aged care in Australia.

IMPROVING HOME CARE PACKAGES

Increasingly, Australians want to age in their own homes and in their own communities, which is why home care packages are so important. As part of the Government’s commitment to improving transparency and accountability in the sector, we will put a cap on the amount home care providers are able to charge for administration and management services. In addition, people receiving home care services will know where their money is going through improved monthly statements. The Government will continue to work on reforms in the home care sector that improve the aged care system for all older Australians.

BETTER PAY FOR WORKERS

In addition to the challenges we face in growing our workforce, many in the sector are stretched thin, having cared for older Australians throughout the pandemic. The Fair Work Commission has given permission for the Government to submit a case supporting a pay rise for aged care workers. We are working swiftly to finalise our submission aiming to attract and retain skilled and compassionate workers in the aged care sector.

Strengthening Food and Nutrition in Residential Aged Care

FOOD AND NUTRITION IN RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE

The Government is working with the aged care sector to strengthen accountability for food and nutrition in residential aged care. We’re developing an aged care standard for food and nutrition, strengthening the reporting requirements and building capability by investing in sector education. Some new measures to increase the quality of life for older Australians in residential aged care include: » working with industry leaders » and continuing the funding increase of $10 per resident per day by including the basic daily fee supplement into the ongoing funding arrangements for residential aged care providers » collecting quality indicators where food has an impact, including unplanned weight loss, pressure injuries and falls and major injury » consumer interviews which will see up to 20% of consumers asked “do you like the food here” with the results published on the Star Rating system.

AGED CARE ADVOCATES

The Aged Care Council of Elders, established as part of the aged care reforms, play a critical role in making sure older Australians have input into shaping aged care. The Council is a voice for older Australians to Government about ageing and aged care reform. One Council member shares their thoughts about what needs to change in aged care:

Meet Danijela Hlis, a member of the inaugural Council of Elders and a dementia carer and author.

‘Aged care providers and health professionals need to be able to work with people from other cultures. People’s lives are at risk otherwise.’

Over the last year, I have been interpreting for some of my friends who have delirium or other health problems that saw them leave their homes in an ambulance for the hospital. By mistake, two of them ended up in dementia care, where they didn’t belong. In all cases, interpreters were not called because of COVID or other excuses; not even telephone interpreters were arranged. Wherever I could, I used my French, Italian, Slovenian, Spanish and Croatian to help the professionals get diagnoses in place, and I took bicultural posters and communication cards to them so they could at least communicate a little bit. We need a legal requirement imposed on all aged care providers and health professionals to call an interpreter whenever communication between them and the client is not possible. It should be in legislation to have interpreters, translated materials, and mandatory training in diverse and specialised care. I will continue to ask for inclusion and respect for diversity in aged care.

ACCESS TRANSLATING AND INTERPRETING SERVICES

The Australian Government covers the cost of TIS National interpreting services for approved providers of Government-subsidised aged care. This funding aims to support providers to engage interpreters for all discussions with current and prospective service users to discuss care needs, fees, care plans and budgets and for their care recipients to participate more fully in daily social and cultural activities. Visit health.gov.au for information about eligibility. Sign language interpreting for Australian Government-subsidised aged care services is also available. Visit health.gov.au for more information. My Aged Care can connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to an Indigenous interpreting service to provide aged care information in a person’s preferred language. To access an Indigenous interpreter, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 and ask for an interpreter in your client’s preferred language. The Australian Government is supporting eligible aged care providers to better communicate with their recipients in their chosen language by providing free translation of their business information. This includes welcome material, signage, feedback forms, and non-personal documents. Visit diversityagedcare.health.gov.au to request this service. If you are receiving care, you can get immediate phone interpreting through TIS National for the cost of a local call on 131 450, 24 hours a day, every day of the year or visit tisnational.gov.au to book an interpreter.

TALK TO AN AGED CARE SPECIALIST OFFICER FACE-TO-FACE

An Aged Care Specialist Officer (ACS can help you with your aged care matters, including:

  • providing in-depth information on the different types of aged care services
  • checking if you’re eligible for government-funded services and making a referral for an aged care assessment
  • helping you appoint a representative for My Aged Care
  • providing financial information about aged care services
  • connecting you to local support services

You can book a free face-to-face appointment with an ACSO in 69 locations across Australia by phoning the Services Australia Aged Care line on 1800 227 475.

GET INVOLVED

If you care for or work with older Australians, we want your input on a range of projects being delivered as part of the aged care reforms. We invite older Australians, families and carers, aged care providers and staff, researchers, experts, and stakeholders to help us design changes to aged care, which will benefit all Australians. Activities where we’d like your input include: surveys, discussion papers, webinars, workshops. Here are some upcoming activities where you can talk to us about the aged care reforms:

  • 15–16 September 2022 Brisbane Carers Expo Department of Health and Aged Care booth Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • 13–14 October 2022 Carers WA Conference Department of Health and Aged Care in Plenary Panel Discussion Group Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

REGISTER FOR UPDATES

Find out more and get involved with the aged care reforms through the Aged Care Engagement Hub. You can register for updates and participate in engagement activities. You can also provide feedback over the phone, or have information posted to you.

To visit the hub go to: agedcareengagement.health.gov.au or call 1800 200 422 (My Aged Care free-call phone line) to find out more.

STAY UP TO DATE WITH AGED CARE NEWS

Subscribe to the “Your Aged Care Update” at health.gov.au/aged-care-newsletter-subscribe by Aged Care Group Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care You can stay up to date with how our engagement activities are helping shape the reforms on the ‘What we’ve heard’ blog: agedcareengagement.health.gov.au/blog

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Care & Ageing Well Expo Perth 2024

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