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Improved aged care access for nation’s First Peoples at the heart of a new report

A landmark report focusing on the gaps, roadblocks and barriers experienced by older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, has been released during a Roundtable event at Parliament House in Canberra.

The barriers faced by older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when it comes to accessing aged care have been addressed in a new report (Source: Shutterstock)
The barriers faced by older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when it comes to accessing aged care have been addressed in a new report (Source: Shutterstock)

The report, Assuring equity of access and quality outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: What needs to be done, was developed by the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) through its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ageing Advisory Group (ATSIAAG) and officially launched by Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt at the Roundtable event focusing on improving aged care access.

Minister Wyatt welcomed the report, which sets out the outcomes of the 5th National ATSIAAG Workshop held in Perth in November 2017, outlines several roadblocks to access and equity, gaps in policy, education and advocacy as well as geographic barriers.

It also identifies a number of proposed actions to improve the aged care system for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ranging 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 People’s and I commend the Australian Association of Gerontology and its special Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ageing Advisory Group,” Minister Wyatt says.

“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.”

ATSIAAG Co-Chair’s Graham Aitken and Ros Malay also spoke of the reports importance.

“We are delighted that the Minister has launched our report, and given it the prominence it deserves,” they say.

“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 [and] we are looking forward to seeing a response from Government to the suggestions put forward in the report.”

AAG Chief Executive Officer (CEO) James Beckford Saunders also acknowledged the importance of the report, but for the Roundtable event as well which brought together key players from Government agencies, academia, aged care, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, to look 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 caps are, as well as the barriers to optimal collection and use of data and what could be done to overcome these barriers.

“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,” Mr Beckford Saunders explains.

“This kind of event is really fundamental to AAG’s purpose of improving the experience of ageing, through connecting research, policy and practice.”

Mr Beckford Saunders adds that AAG expect to publish a report from the Roundtable within the next few months.

The assuring equity of access and quality outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: What needs to be done is available to view online.

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