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CORAL Rizzalli is tired. The 72-year-old has spent her entire life caring for sick and disabled family members and is desperate for some reprieve, but the system is failing her family.
Ms Rizzalli is the full-time carer for her sister, 67-year-old Dawn Steine who has spina bifida, osteoporosis and other heath complications and has been on a waiting list since April last year for full in-home care.
Ms Steine lives in a granny flat on Ms Rizzalli’s property where she moved after Cyclone Yasi destroyed the family home.
AGED-CARE providers, medics and professional organisations will join forces today to call on all political parties to commit to end the rationing system that leaves many older Australians without the assistance they need.
In an effort to insert the issue into the election campaign, the 40 member organisations of the National Aged Care Alliance will argue that too many elderly wait too long for care in the home or have to move long distances to get into a nursing home.
Dozens of elderly people are stuck in Canberra’s hospitals waiting for places in aged care facilities as homes opened last year reach capacity much earlier than expected.
Care providers say they are caught between blockages in the system and the expectations of residents and their families.
According to ACT Health, there were a total of 52 elderly patients awaiting placement in the public system in mid May, including 29 patients at the Canberra Hospital.
With over 3.6 million people expected to need health assistance as part of the future aged care system, industry stakeholders must discuss the issues posed by an ageing population. By Amie Larter
It was a round-table discussion in 2012 that began the dialogue. Just Better Care convened a meeting to bring together the private sector and government to sit down and discuss what they believe would be the biggest issues facing the aged care industry.
Social demographer Bernard Salt, Inaugural Australian Business Woman of the Year Vera Randall, founder of Just Better Care franchises Trish Noakes, Andrew Constance, NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services and NSW Shadow Minister for Ageing and Shadow Minister for Disability Services Barbara Perry, were among the attendees.
Panellists brought extensive knowledge from a range of industries, including technology, architecture and urban planning, government perspective and social reform.
Intensive lobbying from aged care providers and other stakeholder groups for a range of amendments to the five aged care bills currently before the parliament has been rewarded with a number of recommendations making it into the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs’ inquiry into the five aged care bills which underpin the Government’s Living Longer, Living Better [LLLB] reform package.
The 236 page report, released late on Friday 31 May, includes three main components – an eight chapter majority report containing 13 recommendations; a dissenting report from the Coalition Senators; and ‘additional comments’ and recommendations from the Australian Greens.
According to analysis from Catholic Health Australia (CHA), six* of the 13 recommendations made in the majority report, if supported, would involve amendments to the LLLB bills.
Key recommendations in the majority report also recommend that current references to the Workforce Supplement in the bill be retained, and that the Government examine whether it may be appropriate to revise the Supplement guidelines to permit, in some circumstances, the use of the Workforce Supplement in meeting employee entitlements.
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Source: Australian Ageing Agenda 11 December 2012
The Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency has joined forces with aged care industry peak bodies in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory to offer the Understanding Accreditation course to association members.
The Understanding Accreditation course is a practical toolkit for aged care facilities, organised and run by the Accreditation Agency.
Now, the course will be hosted and promoted by the industry associations, and still supported and facilitated by Accreditation Agency trainers.
Accreditation Agency CEO, Mark Brandon, said working with industry associations to deliver education and training was an ideal way of reaching a broader audience.
“The more people that do this course, the better – for staff, management and for residents,” Mr Brandon said.
The move, announced today, follows on from the development of a successful partnership with LASA Victoria to deliver the same accreditation course.
CEO of LASA Victoria John Begg: “Since July 2010, LASA Victoria has enjoyed a successful partnership with the Agency, one that has enabled 293 participants across 101 organisations to complete the Understanding Accreditation course. We look forward to continuing this partnership into 2013 and beyond.” more
Source: Australian Ageing Agenda 11 Dec 2012
An online information sharing tool for health professionals about best practice in managing continence has just been launched by the Continence Foundation of Australia.
The Australian Continence Exchange (ACE) provides resources on continence management consolidated from a range or sources around the world for health professionals to access and a platform for them to share ideas.
Continence Foundation of Australia chief executive Barry Cahill said: “Health professionals can be alerted to professional development opportunities, connect with other clinicians to chat about continence care, and download a wide range of resources.”
Those resources include the latest research reports and clinical guidelines, the consumer information library, product supplier directories, expert video presentations and information about continence subsidy schemes.
ACE also provides a list of news and events and education opportunities plus a platform for health professionals to share ideas via an online forum.
“The live forum is a great tool for specialist and non-specialist professionals to ask questions, gain peer support and advice, and learn about new research findings,” Mr Cahill said.
ACE is administered by the Continence Foundation of Australia and funded the Department of Health and Ageing under the National Continence Program.
Source: Australian Ageing Agenda 11 Dec 2012
Older men suffering from depression are at higher risk of hospitalisation for non-psychiatric conditions, says Winthrop Professor Osvaldo Almeida from the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing
Strategies that identify and manage older people with depression are needed to prevent hospital admissions and reduce health care costs, says a leading geriatric psychiatry researcher.
The call follows findings in a study by the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing (WACHA) that depressed older men are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as their counterparts not suffering depression.
Older men suffering from depression were at higher risk of hospitalisation for non-psychiatric conditions, said Winthrop Professor Osvaldo Almeida, senior investigator on the study and director of research at WACHA.
“Our results indicate that we must tackle the issue of depression in later life if we are serious about optimising the use of limited hospital resources available to the Australian population,” said Prof Almeida, who is chair of geriatric psychiatry at the University of Western Australia.
The research, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal yesterday, looked at 5411 Perth men aged 69 years and older.
According to an assessment of depressive symptoms using the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale, 6.3 per cent of participants had moderate to severe depression. more
Aged Care Insite – December 2012
One woman is behind a growing campaign calling for better palliative care services, especially in the bush. Amie Larter reports
Yvonne McMaster is possibly one of Australia’s most passionate palliative care lobbyists.
Extremely concerned about current levels of funding dedicated to palliative care services in NSW, McMaster started a petition to help the NSW Health ministry be able to justify to the Treasury and the community sufficient expenditure for palliative care so that every person has the best possible attention when approaching the end of their life.
“The government has already moved a bit by giving an extra $5 million for three years to start from June next year,” McMaster said. “Everyone knows that this is nowhere near enough to provide equitable care for people in rural areas – the west is worse served than any other part of the state of NSW.”
McMaster, who lives in Wahroonga, Sydney, has already created a great deal of awareness; the petition has already been signed by 59,864 people. “The wonderful palliative care nurses are doing their best but they are up against it with staffing. It is simply not sustainable at present and it is hard for them to provide the services they need to keep people comfortable at home,” she said. more
Aged Care Insite – December 2012
A leading doctor says medical staff and society are now more aware of the signs of depression
Older people need to be encouraged to start focusing on healthy ageing and healthy living to start alleviating the mental health epidemic facing the elderly, says a leading aged care services provider.
Dr Andrew Cole, chief medical officer at HammondCare, believes that encouraging ageing Australians to lead healthier lives by not smoking, treating blood pressure and exercising regularly could lead to a decrease in the amount of mental health issues and is good for the cardiovascular system and prevents strokes.
Cole said that maintaining a healthy weight and sustaining healthy family relationships is also very important.
“Healthy ageing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are very important on the front end of trying to get through old age with the best possible mental health,” Cole said. “It’s just one body. It’s a physical body and it’s the mind that is inside that body – so the two are interconnected.”
Although this issue has been given a lot of light in political and media forums recently, Cole believes this has always been an issue – one that just has not been sufficiently recognised up until now. more