A new national framework issued today will ensure that aged care recipients receive the best possible assistance from the Australian Government-funded advocates acting on their behalf.
The new National Aged Care Advocacy Framework outlines objectives, guiding principles and target groups for our Government’s National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP).
The framework will ensure that people in all states and territories have access to consistently high quality, independent and free support from NACAP, if they need help with an aged care issue.
It is another example of our Government’s commitment to ensuring senior Australians receive uniformly high quality care from our aged care system.
Among its guiding principles are:
· a strong emphasis on proactive and preventive advocacy, by educating and strengthening the capacity of aged care users, their representatives and the general community;
· educating and assisting aged care service providers to embed the rights of consumers in their policies and practices;
· using proven and tested practices delivered to a high standard by a competent and skilled advocacy workforce.
The framework was developed with the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN), which is funded by our Government to deliver the NACAP. It was also shaped by a public consultation process that also included peak organisations representing both consumers and aged care providers.
It will help advocates in OPAN’s nine member organisations to provide even stronger support and protection of senior Australians’ rights.
NACAP provides confidential advocacy support, education and information to older people who receive Commonwealth funded residential or home support aged care services. Family members, carers and people wanting to receive aged care services may also use the service.
Advocacy plays a key role in a quality aged care system by supporting consumers to be self-empowered to exercise choice and to raise their concerns with the provider or, where necessary, with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
The framework directs NACAP to focus on people living with dementia, a disability, or cognitive decline and those from special needs groups.
These include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, rural and remote area residents, financially or socially disadvantaged people and defence veterans and spouses.
It also recognises carers, family members, “family of choice” and other representatives of aged care consumers as partners in advocacy processes.
The new National Aged Care Advocacy Framework will operate alongside OPAN’s new Elder Abuse Prevention and Support Framework, which was developed with government support.
Both frameworks provide guidance to OPAN’s member organisations to drive a more consistent, national approach to NACAP services.
The National Aged Care Advocacy Framework can be found on the Department of Health website.
Older people, their family or carers who wish to speak to an aged care advocate should visit www.opan.com.au or call 1800 700 600.