Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Nov-Dec 2014 Contents Improving access to telehealth
for people with hearing and speech impairments
The National Relay Service is a Government program that
lets people with hearing or speech loss make phone calls.
Despite the growth in telehealth services as a way of
providing real-time interactions between patients and
providers, people who have a hearing or speech
impairment face many barriers before they can be
meaningfully involved in these initiatives.
We are looking for aged care professionals to join a
working group on improving access to telehealth
services for NRS users.
Contact the NRS on 1800 555 660 or
YOU JOIN A
Horner also raises concerns over
bringing home care compliance into
the fold, as it is a very different way of
delivering care that will not be easily
judged by the residential aged care
compliance system as it sits now.
"My fear is that it will just dumb down
the practice even further by creating
many legislative requirements and
documentation. The biggest killer of
accreditation is the documentation that
The current system, Horner says, makes
it difficult for residential and community
providers to be learning organisations
because they don't have the resources or
the environment to take risks.
"It is a real pity and I don't have a
solution... While we have this disconnect
we will continue to inhibit the capability
of the sector."
For the time being though, Horner is
taking a break from finding solutions. She
is in the process of "letting things go rather
than taking them on" and plans to "hang
loose" for the rest of the year spending
more time with her four grandchildren and
husband of 40-odd years.
She stresses her enormous respect for
this sector and its people, and says she
will miss the friendships and relationships.
"I have no doubt there will be things
that will appear on my plate that I will get
involved in, but what they are and how
I will do it, I don't really want to think
about just yet." n
the innovation-stifling compliance system,
notwithstanding her strong support of the
need to ensure quality across aged care.
"What bothers me most is the inability of
the current accreditation and compliance
system to shift practice beyond the lowest
common denominator," she says.
"I am constantly frustrated by the fact
that it is so difficult to be innovative and
try new things and to find a place within
the existing accreditation compliance
system that encourages you to do that."
Horner was appointed to the former
Aged Care Standards & Accreditation
Agency in 2012 and spent nearly two
years there before its replacement, the
Australian Aged Quality Agency, came
into being. Unfortunately, the experience
didn't live up to her aspirations.
"My greatest hope was that I would be
able to be a voice for the industry in a forum
that I perceived would want to talk about
evidence-based practice and the latest
research and innovation," Horner says.
However, she says she was
unsuccessful in getting evidence-based
practice, research or innovation on the
agenda, which she found frustrating.
As a supporter of the Productivity
Commission's recommendation for
a compliance body independent of
government, Horner does not think the
new agency is the best way forward as it
will be difficult to maintain the checks,
balances and independence that the
former accreditation agency was able to.
Try and be less introverted and believe
more in your capability rather than your
inability. Take calculated risks to seek
out innovation and not be siloed into that
inward thinking approach of just surviving.
There is way more capacity across the
sector than we have necessarily seen.
Share and learn from each other, be
collaborative and seek out ways to make
better use of all the data you collect.
Listen to the industry. Engage
with them and provide them with
opportunities to put forward what they
think is best for the industry because
it is an industry where the government
doesn't know best. My hope is we will
find a better way to reduce this gap
between compliance and innovation.
There is an urgent need to build
capacity and invest in research.
There is an appalling lack of attention
to the care of older people in almost
all health professional curricula and
that has to be addressed. There is
also a chronic lack of knowledge and
experience among staff and this has to
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