Health & aged care

Calls flood in for advance care planning advice

An increasing number of people are seeking advice about preparing for a time when they can no longer make decisions about their own health care.

Government-funded advisory service Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) said its call volumes in May 2018 soared by 462 per cent, compared to those in October last year.

“It’s great to see more interest in advance care planning, which previously has not been well understood in Australia,” ACPA’s Dr Karen Detering said.

Seniors have mixed views about aged care delivered at home

A major report by National Seniors Australia released this week found most seniors receiving aged care at home thought workers treated them with respect, met their personal care and support needs, and were well trained.

However, about 50 per cent of people qualified their positive views by saying better coordination between home care and health services was required, along with improvements to the Consumer Directed Care system.

Mandatory vaccine for aged care staff aims to reduce flu toll

Residential aged care homes will have to offer influenza vaccinations to all staff under new government measures to head off a repeat of last year’s horror flu season.

Health Minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said the results of a survey had shown a significant link between increased staff immunisation and lower aged care influenza outbreaks.

“It will now be mandatory for every aged care provider to offer the flu vaccine to every single worker,” Mr Hunt said.

Dementia an extra challenge in natural disasters

A new online guide aims to help the carers of people living with dementia cope with natural disasters.

The Carer Ready Guide, from the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration: Carers and Consumers, was created by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in  partnership with the Red Cross.

“More than 425,000 Australians live with dementia and we are a country that has its fair share of natural disasters. Many of us will be impacted by one at some stage,” said lead researcher, QUT’s Dr Linda Schnitker.

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.

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