Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2011 Contents MANY DELEGATES came to the ACAA-NSW
Congress 2011 wanting to know how industry
reform was likely to affect their organisations
and the message from speakers was
First, in his videotaped address, the
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
restated his commitment to respond quickly
to the Productivity Commission's (PC)
final recommendations, before PC Deputy
Chairman, Mike Woods, told the assembly
reform would be "a change for the better".
"I think our report provides great
opportunities for providers to expand their
businesses, in a system that will also be
affordable for consumers and taxpayers,"
Mr Woods said. "They'll be able to
construct where they think there's a market
opportunity, they'll be able to offer a range
of accommodation products and they'll be
able to diversify into things like transition
care or sub-acute care or respite, and even
Finally, aged care dentist Dr Peter Foltyn
warned of "a disaster in the making" in
terms of oral health in nursing homes and
outlined his plan to avert the crisis. Among
other points, Dr Foltyn wants the supposedly-
mandatory Oral Health Assessment Tool
(OHAT) to be promoted more and actually
used for its purpose in aged care. "The OHAT
is mandatory but most facilities don't use it,"
he said. "A lot of nurses I talk to don't even
know what it is."
A full version of Dr Foltyn's suggestions
to improve oral health and hygiene in aged
care is available on www.pc.gov.au in his
response to the PC's Caring for Older
Australians draft report. n
Since becoming the AMA president in
late May, Dr Steve Hambleton has given
a lot of thought to the question of how
medical access for aged care residents
can be improved.
Part of the AMA's position, he
informed the ACAA-NSW State
Congress, was that providers should
be held responsible for residents'
access to medical care through a new
The response from ACAA CEO, Rod
Young, on behalf of the industry was
swift. "Basically you're asking aged
care providers to be held accountable
to accreditation, for something over
which they have no control," Mr Young
said. "[Providers] don't even contract
GPs to provide services; the contract
arrangement is between the resident and
GP. How the dickens can you say we
should be held accountable for that?"
That disagreement aside, the ACAA
response also acknowledged that both
associations "want the same things".
Dr Hambleton agreed, saying doctors
and aged care stakeholders had "more
aligned goals than unaligned goals", and
that he had already planned to arrange a
meeting with Mr Young in person, rather
than "communicating via press release".
at this year's
revisits some of the
Productivity Commission Deputy Chairman, Mike Woods,
with aged care accountant, Cam Ansell.
Dr Peter Foltyn
Dr Steve Hambleton
offer community care based from their
"We would envisage that in some cases,
where there is a move away from very high
bonds to bonds and periodic charges ... that
some people will have to adjust their business
models, but we envisage a significant
transition period...[providers] are already on
notice; they've seen our draft report."
Mr Woods also reiterated that the PC
wants accommodation prices determined
by the market, regardless of whether paid
though a bond or a periodic charge, and
that grandfathering (the continued
application of older regulations) would
support those providers forced to make
major operational changes.
Aged care accountant, Cam Ansell, also
said the opportunities of deregulation would
outweigh its challenges, presenting data that
supported his view from his recent study of
New Zealand's deregulated aged care market.
After a rousing 'half-time speech' from
AFL legend, Kevin Sheedy, and concurrent
sessions with industry leaders, three speakers
came to the stage to discuss improving
access to medical, palliative and dental care
in residential aged care facilities.
First, the Australian Medical Association's
(AMA) then vice-president, Dr Steve
Hambleton, made the unpopular call that
providers should be responsible for ensuring
residents' ongoing access to medical care
through a new accreditation standard [see
below, 'Communication breakdown'].
Next up, the president of Palliative Care
Australia, Peter Cleasby, urged providers to
lead the way in training nurses to 'recognise
dying', just as they recognise illness, pointing
out that the other side of ageing-in-place is,
92 | JULY -- AUGUST 2011 | AAA
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