We all know someone who has parents who are ageing. Many of these aged people are still living independently. The Federal Government’s new Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce has commissioned a report, Accentuating the positive: consumer experiences of aged care at home. 

This report focuses upon consumer’s opinions of aged care services delivered in the home, and while most seniors reflected positivity regarding their carers, co-ordination between home care and health services need to be improved.

The objective of the Taskforce is to build a sustainable and comprehensive workforce strategy. Mostly the sector has an existing workforce of well trained care workers, however many of the participants, reflected in the report, that services were delivered at times or in ways that were inconvenient to the client. This is challenge in a landscape of competitors, with the majority of providers offering services in a commercial model. It is doubly so, in regional and remote areas.

A lack of continuity of care for dementia patients and poor training for dementia care, is especially concerning as the number of Australians living with dementia, according to Dementia Australia is over 425, 416 Australians and counting. There have been wonderful measures by Dementia Australia, in York and locally in Manjimup to create dementia positive communities with the local business network, making changes to layouts of shops and skilling their workers to recognise the signs of confusion, and adopt a gentle, kind and patient approach.

 

In the report, Accentuating the positive: consumer experiences of aged care at home, there is frustration from clients in home settings, that workplace health and safety constraints placed by organisations to protect their employees, especially in terms of cleaning services have resulted in percieved unnecessary restrictions. Risk management of workplaces that are fundamentally, the personal homes of others, has long been an issue and may explain why Australia has been slow to adapt to flexible workplaces unlike other European countries.

Professor McCallum voiced ‘major concerns’ regarding the toll on health of unpaid carers and the need to recognise that the family care workforce is a major part of the service system which deserve to be supported properly. Without such support, the quality of life for many would be far less.

The report cites, with these ‘multiple issues’, the need for better access to respite care, opportunities for training,the physical health impacts on carer’s of feeling stressed, experiencing mental exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed. The full report is available here: https://nationalseniors.com.au/accentuatingthepositive