News & Publications

13 Jun 18

Assuring equity of access and quality outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: What needs to be done

Achieving better aged care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) through its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ageing Advisory Group (ATSIAAG), today released a landmark report, Assuring equity of access and quality outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: What needs to be done. The report can be found here.

The report was launched at Parliament House, Canberra by the Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, during a roundtable on improving aged care access, with the theme Better data to drive better aged care for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The report sets out the outcomes of the 5th National ATSIAAG Workshop, held in Perth in November 2017. The workshop aimed to explore barriers to equity in access and outcomes in aged care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to suggest directions for the future.

The report outlines several roadblocks to access and equity, ranging from a lack of service connectivity, to challenges that vulnerable groups experience with Consumer Directed Care and the My Aged Care system. Added to these barriers are gaps in policy, gaps in education and advocacy, high costs of case management, and geographic barriers that make access to appropriate care even more difficult for people in remote communities.

The report identifies a number of proposed actions to improve the aged care system for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These range from an expansion of specialist targeted services, to more work to embed cultural safety in mainstream care, strategies to improve the ability of the aged care workforce to offer more appropriate care, an expansion of advocacy services, and more appropriate needs assessment.

“This report details valuable recommendations to improve aged care access for our First Peoples and I commend the Australian Association of Gerontology and its special Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ageing Advisory Group,” Minister Wyatt said.

“It highlights the importance of respect for culture, to instil confidence in older First Nations people, and I look forward to its findings helping guide the development of effective pathways to quality aged care.

“During today’s roundtable, you will be drawing out these barriers and discussing how better data can build a better aged care system for our First Peoples.

“This is a priority for the Turnbull Government and, following last year’s Australian National Audit Office report into Indigenous aged care, we have taken steps to improve data.”


The need to improve data is one of the key themes emerging from consultations on an action plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people which is being developed under the Aged Care Diversity Framework.

The workshop also called for greater uptake of evidence from research and data, to ensure greater understanding of the aged care service and support needs of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and how they can best be met.

Mr Graham Aitken, Co-Chair of the ATSIAAG, said: “We are delighted that the Minister has launched our report, and given it the prominence it deserves. We are looking forward to seeing a response from government to the suggestions put forward in the report.”

Ms Ros Malay, ATSIAAG Co-Chair, added: “This report is really timely given the work that’s underway to develop an Action Plan for Aged Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The report has some great ideas that could be picked up in the Action Plan.”

The Roundtable – which brought together key players from government agencies, academia, aged care, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations - looked at why good data collection and use is important in improving aged care access and outcomes; what data is currently being collected, and where the gaps are; the barriers to optimal collection and use of data; and what could be done to overcome these barriers.

AAG’s Chief Executive Officer, James Beckford Saunders, said: “We had a really brilliant group of people with expertise in a range of areas, who came together to problem solve in this important and up until now, neglected area. This kind of event is really fundamental to AAG’s purpose of improving the experience of ageing, through connecting research, policy and practice.”

AAG expects to publish a report from the Roundtable within the next few months.  For more information call James Beckford Saunders

Pictured: Minister Wyatt with ATSIAAG Co Chairs Graham Aitken, Ros Malay and James Beckford Saunders

Click here for Media Release

 

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