November 30, 2009

AUSTRALIA: Let aged live with dignity, urges national alliance

. ADELAIDE / South Australia / Adelaide Now / November 30, 2009 FUNDAMENTAL reforms are needed to put the interests of the elderly at the heart of Australia's aged care system, says an alliance of support groups meeting in Adelaide. The National Aged Care Alliance says if older Australians are to live independently with dignity, changes are essential to give them the same freedoms and choices as other Australians. "The current system has evolved over the years into a model where older people requiring services are effectively placed into pre-determined menus," alliance spokesman Ian Yates said on Monday in Adelaide. "This often does not reflect the preferences, aspirations or personal circumstances of the person receiving the care. "We need to move to a system where individuals can have access in their own homes to the support or care they need and the right to make decisions for themselves in conjunction with chosen family and friends where appropriate. "This will require funding for care and support to be linked to each recipient rather than the service providers and separated from accommodation funding." Under the alliance model, care assessment would be immediately available to older people when they suffered physical or mental challenges to determine the appropriate level of funding required to restore their participation in the community. The funding could then be used to obtain support and care through approved providers or through their own networks and arrangements. Support would vary from person to person according to their circumstances and aspirations. It would also link into the broader health system and include easily accessible primary health care services, transitional care after acute health episodes as well as restorative and rehabilitation services. "The Alliance believes that users should contribute to the costs of support and care services and these costs should be nationally consistent, transparent, equitable and affordable," Mr Yates said. "But no-one should be denied access to support and care because of financial incapacity." The National Aged Care Alliance is made up of 28 consumer and professional organisations, including the Council on the Ageing, Anglicare Australia, Aged and Community Services Australia, the Australian Nursing Federation and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. [rc] Copyright 2009 News Limited.