Health & aged care

Doctors play 'hide and seek' in aged care

Many doctors are reluctant to visit patients in residential aged care facilities (RACF) due to avoidable delays and inefficiencies, a new Australian study has found.

Most general practitioners enjoyed visiting patients in residential aged care but many patients also had complex medical needs, which presented their own sets of challenges, according to Dr Russell Pearson, a practicing GP and lead investigator of the study by the University of Wollongong.

The research also found many GPs found visiting RACFs a frustrating experience.

Chief Advocate addresses importance of advance care directives

National Seniors Australia Chief Advocate Ian Henschke will be the keynote speaker at an event in Adelaide on Wednesday 18 April to highlight the importance of advance care directives.

The event is part of the National Advance Care Planning Week from 16-22 April, and Ian will speak on the topic Advance Care Directives: A matter of love, rights and self-determination.

It has been organised by Health Consumers Alliance SA.

Mr Henschke, a former award-winning ABC broadcaster, is a National Advance Care Planning Week ambassador.

Share your experience on aged care services

If you would like to share your experience of respite care services, National Seniors would like to hear from you.

Your feedback is needed as part of current consultations by the Federal Government’s Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA).

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said the ACFA would complete the study and report on the increasing use of respite care and whether or not the current arrangements were fit for purpose for providers and consumers.

National Seniors wants to know your thoughts on the following aspects of the respite care system:

Seniors suffering because of rising costs

Many older Australians were struggling to maintain even a modest standard of living because of spiralling power, health and other costs, National Seniors Australia said today.

National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the impacts of rising costs were exacerbated by government rules preventing seniors from earning more than $6,500 a year without losing part of their Age Pension.

Unsustainable stress on carers of the aged

Carers are urging the government to release more home care packages for the aged, in line with National Seniors’ call for more support for older people living in the community.

Carers Australia’s Ara Cresswell said the current caps on the number of home care packages and the long waiting times before aged people could access packages of support for which they had been deemed eligible shifted heavy care loads onto family and friends.

“Many of these carers are aged themselves and have decreasing capacity to take on a hefty and exhausting caring role,” Ms Cresswell said.

Call for more dementia-specific respite care

A new report has called for better access to dementia-specific respite care across Australia.

Carers Australia has urged the government to increase subsidies for respite care in residential aged care facilities so that family and friend carers can take a break when required.

Other types of respite also need to be made more readily available, including cottage-style accommodation for overnight and weekend breaks, said Carers Australia’s Ara Cresswell.

Help shape the future of aged care

Aged care is a big topic at the moment and National Seniors is keen to have your input for our own research. Or you may want to take part in a government workshop and help shape the future of aged care. The details are on how to do either, or both, are below.

Tell us about your aged care experiences

National Seniors’ research team wants to hear your stories about your experiences with aged care services:

We would like you to indicate:

Improving Aged Care for LGBTI seniors

Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt says positive steps have been achieved in the training of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) aged care workforce, but more work needs to be done.

Releasing the LGBTI Aged Care Strategy Review today, Mr Wyatt said it was important the aged care industry continued with the work begun five years ago when the strategy was introduced.

Aged care reforms 'a huge step forward'

National Seniors Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to make unannounced audits of the nation’s residential aged care facilities, describing the move as “a huge step forward” in protecting some of Australia’s most vulnerable older people.
National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the advocacy group had called for a much greater focus on unannounced visits to aged care facilities, and it was pleased Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt had acted so swiftly to implement the initiative.

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