Nursing Review Issue 3 May-June 2022 - Page 19

specialty focus care facility . As an older Australian , you ’ re losing your support network when you do that because your family and friends can ’ t come and visit you when you ’ re really far away .
specialty focus care facility . As an older Australian , you ’ re losing your support network when you do that because your family and friends can ’ t come and visit you when you ’ re really far away .
For these communities that have lost these elders or older people , you ’ re also losing a part of the community every time this happens . It actually has a big impact , not just on the person , but also on the community that they ’ re leaving behind .
You ’ ve raised stewardship by the government as a solution to fixing the rural system . Could you tell us more about this approach ? During some of the work that Nous has done we ’ ve started to think about what stewardship could look like . At its heart , stewardship is really about enabling access , providing really good sustainable services , and having responsive policy . It takes into account the three key actors of the aged care system : the consumer , giving them access to good quality services ; the provider , making sure that the services are sustainable so that they can have successful businesses ; and how the government can develop responsive policies that reflect the needs of the community and the provider .
It ’ s not just about providing extra beds , because potentially most of these people that are living in rural and remote communities actually want to be able to access aged care services at home . It ’ s about understanding the needs of the communities and the needs of the people in those communities , and then figuring out along with the providers , government and other local or community representatives how to deliver services that meet the needs of our older Australians in these communities , and do it sustainably and to a really high quality .
What are your thoughts on the government ’ s commitment to a new clinical governance structure , specifically in rural aged care ? The government has already started to put into effect some of the recommendations from the Royal Commission . For instance , in Dorrigo in New South Wales , there ’ s already a facility that offers this multipurpose service that doesn ’ t just have an emergency department and general medicine , but it also has residential and respite aged care , and home care packages . It was a collaboration with New South Wales Services and Services Australia and it just offers a range of services within that community based on the needs of that community .
Based on the Budget response , the government ’ s also starting to invest in the regional network , which was a key recommendation from the Royal Commission that suggested that Department of Health staff be broken up – I want to say decentralised – but put into these regional offices so they can really get a deep sense of what was happening in these communities , understand the needs of the older Australians within that community , and then help design sustainable services to deliver on those needs .
In looking at a stewardship model , what would you say are the most important things we need to keep in mind when designing better aged care for people in regional areas ? I would say the first thing to do is to listen to the people in those areas . Really ask the people within that region or the older Australians within those communities what their needs and preferences are . It ’ s also about tapping into a lot of these community groups or peak bodies that are already out there doing really good work , and working with them to understand what the needs of the community are , and asking where are the gaps , and how can we work to close those gaps ?
The second thing is using data . It ’ s really important to balance what we ’ re hearing with any information or data that we have on that region to really make sure that whatever efforts or response we have in those different communities is backed up , not just on that local intelligence gathered from community groups , but also from the data .
How can we get rural or indigenous communities to be more engaged in this process , especially when public trust in the sector is quite low ? I think that ’ s where gathering that local intelligence and really working with the groups in the community comes in , because there are already groups that are working , whether it ’ s community organisations , peak bodies , special interest groups , PHNs or outreach services , in these communities . I think it ’ s really a matter of sitting down with these groups and understanding what ’ s working and what ’ s not , and , if there are providers in that area , speaking to the providers or PHNs .
“ The stewardship model is about leveraging the information that ’ s already in these communities .
The stewardship model is not about going out and starting from scratch , because a lot of these communities already have the knowledge that we need for the stewardship model to hit the ground running . It ’ s really about leveraging the information that ’ s already in these communities and using that to build a better aged care model .
What role would providers have in strengthening this approach ? There ’ s three groups that have to play a part in this : the government , the consumer and the provider . The Royal Commission talked about building provider capacity and capability , so it ’ s about what we can do to help support providers to , one offer good quality services , but two , make sure their services are financially sustainable so it is a good environment for them to operate in .
If you look at the Kimberley region in WA for instance , there ’ s one provider out there . That provider would have a very good understanding of the community , of where the gaps are , so they would be very important in terms of gathering that local intelligence about what ’ s working and what ’ s not , and how we can improve . They are very much part of this process .
How long do you think something like this would take to really refine and get right in these communities ? I just think we have to get started . I think from the Budget response the plan is to initially start in some areas and test what this might look like with the regional offices , then expanding from there . I think we just have to get started . I wish I could say how long it would take .
I think aged care as a whole and the public are ready for change . I think the government ’ s ready for change . The providers are ready for change . I think everyone is keen to see that this is high up on the agenda within the upcoming election . I think it ’ s important for everyone .
You could tell from the Royal Commission this is something that is important to everyone in Australia . Overall , we ’ re all going in that direction , but it ’ s important that we think big . ■
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