Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Nov-Dec 2016 Contents AGED CARE PROVIDERS
have expressed concern
over the loss of case
management within the
aged care system as a
result of the reforms, in the
context of worsening levels
of elder abuse.
Aged Care Assessment
Teams, which previously
management, were now
focused on assessment,
meaning there was now a gap in
the system, providers have said.
"When you find someone
[experiencing elder abuse] who
isn't a client of a service, it's
quite difficult to find someone in
health or the police who will take
the first step with that person,"
Paul Sadler, CEO of Presbyterian
Aged Care NSW & ACT told a
forum hosted by the Australian
Association of Gerontology in
The forum heard that aged
care professionals have a
responsibility to be informed
about the signs of elder abuse
and to raise suspected cases
they encounter with a supervisor
or manager in their organisation.
Research shows that older
people experiencing abuse
are often reluctant to report it
themselves as they may be
dependent on the abuser or
fear retribution or the loss of the
relationship with their loved one.
Calls to the state-based elder
abuse helplines showed the
majority of abuse happened in
the home, and was perpetrated
by someone the older person
knew -- most often an adult son or
daughter, or a spouse.
Aged services and community
care workers in particular were
often well placed to spot potential
signs of abuse.
Kerry Marshall, manager of
the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline
and Resource Unit, said her
organisation had developed
multiple resources to help inform
and equip aged care providers
Associate Professor Briony
Dow, director of the National
Ageing Research Institute, told
the forum that research showed
educating health professionals
about elder abuse could improve
detection and management of
"Our research shows less
than half of health professionals
had any education or knowledge
about elder abuse, so there is still
a gap in that respect," she said.
Figures from Senior Rights
Victoria showed its helpline
received 755 calls over a two-
year period, 60 per cent of which
were classified as abuse, Dr
The most common forms
of abuse were financial (37 per
cent), psychological (35 per cent)
and physical (9 per cent).
But most people were
experiencing more than one type
of abuse, she said.
Discussing the most effective
approaches for responding to
elder abuse, Dr Dow said the
evidence showed legal responses
were best for financial abuse,
which could include court orders
and moves to protect assets.
"But these work best when
coupled with a case management
approach, which may include
advocacy, counselling and
support to navigate the system
in terms of accessing health,
housing or social support
services," she said. n
WARNING ON DEMENTIA CARE
The chair of Alzheimer's Disease International Glenn Rees has
said he fears the "invisible hand" of the market will not work well
to deliver dementia care.
Dedicated government funding to provide specialist
services and a national dementia framework were both needed
to ensure people with dementia are not disadvantaged as aged
care becomes increasingly deregulated, Mr Rees warned.
It was critical that sector stakeholders sought a
commitment from government to deliver much of the
infrastructure needed for services that deliver social activities
and respite, Mr Rees said.
A national strategy should commit to targets, measures,
timeframes and funding to action the seven priority
areas that were previously outlined in National Dementia
Framework, he said.
His comments came as latest figures from the Australian
Bureau of Statistics showed dementia is set to become the
leading cause of death in Australia in the next few years.
Heart disease has been Australia's leading cause of
death since the early 20th century but dementia increased
from 4.9 per cent of all deaths in 2006 to 7.9 per cent in
2015, the data showed.
SHORT WINDOW FOR
Aged care providers and consumers were given just three
weeks to make submissions on the design of the future of
aged care advocacy services, despite a long wait for
On 15 September the government called for feedback
on a new single advocacy program and a framework, after it
released the findings of a review in March that recommended a
Currently aged care advocacy is delivered under two
national programs by nine different state-based agencies.
The government also confirmed a short-term extension of
funding for the current advocacy services, until 30 June 2017.
AAA had reported on concerns from the agencies that their
funding was due to expire in January.
NEW NATIONAL DEMENTIA SERVICES
The provision of care support and training and education in
dementia will adopt a more coordinated approach with the
long-awaited awarding of tenders to deliver two nationally
A consortium led by HammondCare will deliver the new
Dementia Support Australia service, replacing the existing
state-based Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory
Service (DBMAS) while a consortium led by the University
of Wollongong will operate Dementia Training Australia,
consolidating the current Dementia Training Study Centres and
the Dementia Care Essentials program.
It follows a review last year of government-funded dementia
programs that found inefficiencies and called for consolidation
of several services.
As AAA reported at the time, the review found there was
both unmet need and duplication of services across the
provision of information and training in dementia for aged care
workers and consumers and carers.
By: Darragh O'Keeffe
highlighted at elder
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