More than $25 million has been allocated to fund the program for three years and providers are encouraged to submit a tender for the national coordination of services.
Each state and territory currently has its own advocacy service funded through the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) and the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). These joined together last year to form a network operating under the Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN).
Collectively, the OPAN organisations support around 17,000 people for individual advocacy support, and educate around 78,000 people on their rights and responsibilities each year. Many of the OPAN organisations have been operating for more than 25 years, supporting some of the most vulnerable Australians.
The Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, MP, says consumers increasingly have more choice and a greater say over how they access aged care services.
“Advocacy providers work one-on-one with older people and their families, particularly the more vulnerable groups in our community, to help them understand their aged care options so they can make informed choices,” he says.
As Australia moves closer to a nationally consistent approach to the delivery of aged care advocacy services, the Government also recently announced updates to the draft National Aged Care Advocacy Framework.
Developing the Framework was a key finding of the review of Commonwealth aged care advocacy services; more than 30 submissions from advocacy providers and peak organisations representing consumers, aged care providers and special needs groups were received in the review process.
Many of the views put forward identified the need for the Framework to be flexible so it can meet local needs and adapt to future aged care reforms the Minister confirms.
“The Framework will support the successful advocacy provider or providers from the current open funding round to deliver high quality advocacy services that are more consistent and streamlined, through the redesigned National Aged Care Advocacy Program,” he says. “I welcome the important feedback from stakeholders which has informed this stage of the development process, and many of the views put forward identified the need for the Framework to be flexible so it can meet local needs and adapt to future aged care reforms.”
“The groups also raised other matters for further consideration and we will continue to work through these matters with successful providers and key stakeholders as part of this process.
He confirms the government will work with the successful provider or providers from the National Aged Care Advocacy Program open funding round and other key stakeholders to finalise the Framework.