Re­gional aged care roundtable

The Riverine Herald - - REFLECTIONS FROM THE PAST -

AN OPEN con­ver­sa­tion about the cur­rent chal­lenges fac­ing the aged care in­dus­try was held last week.

On Fri­day, be­fore the open­ing of Shep­par­ton’s new Mac­u­lata aged care fa­cil­ity, Fed­eral Mem­ber for Mur­ray Damian Drum or­gan­ised a round ta­ble dis­cus­sion where he in­vited all the aged care fa­cil­i­ties in the elec­torate to talk about is­sues with the Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Se­nior Aus­tralians and Aged Care Ken Wy­att AM.

A sim­i­lar fo­rum hap­pened al­most two years ago, where peo­ple from the 20 aged care fa­cil­i­ties in the re­gion dis­cussed mat­ters which shaped fed­eral pol­icy.

This meet­ing saw around 35 peo­ple from the fa­cil­i­ties come to­gether in Shep­par­ton.

Among these peo­ple was Echuca Com­mu­nity For The Aged chief ex­ec­u­tive Colin Price, Glanville Vil­lage’s nurs­ing di­rec­tor Dar­ren Clark and BUPA’s gen­eral man­ager Kathryn Eyre.

Through­out the meet­ing, is­sues rang­ing from the re­cent com­mence­ment of the Royal Com­mis­sion to lo­cal needs arose.

‘‘There weren’t many an­swers given to us as such,’’ said Mr Price.

‘‘It’s not as though he brought out a magic wand and solved all our prob­lems.

‘‘His com­ment around the Royal Com­mis­sion into Aged Care Qual­ity and Safety was that there will be some un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tions aris­ing. But he’s still pos­i­tive about the in­dus­try and car­ing for the el­derly mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

‘‘There are iso­lated pock­ets of neg­a­tive be­hav­iour to­wards the el­derly but the vast ma­jor­ity of the in­dus­try aim to pro­vide the high­est qual­ity of care.’’

Kathryn Eyre, who trav­elled to the meet­ing with two of her care man­agers found the fo­rum very in­sight­ful.

‘‘It was in­cred­i­bly valu­able and a great op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal mem­bers of the in­dus­try have time with Min­is­ter,’’ she said.

‘‘He was cer­tainly aware of the chal­lenges we face, par­tic­u­larly in re­gional ar­eas and he heard our in­di­vid­ual con­cerns.

‘‘A stand­out con­ver­sa­tion for me was about the work­force and how to re­tain and bring suit­able work­ers to our area.

‘‘He talked about how he was work­ing closely with the Shadow Min­is­ter for Aged Care, that way, re­gard­less of who is in power after the the next elec­tion, what is best for the in­dus­try will be main­tained.

‘‘I’m con­fi­dent the dis­cus­sions had on Fri­day will go on to shape the fu­ture of the in­dus­try.’’

With much of the aged care in­dus­try cur­rently un­der re­view, the round ta­ble meet­ing could not have come at a bet­ter time.

The Royal Com­mis­sion into Aged Care Qual­ity and Safety and the in­tense me­dia scru­tiny has seen the pub­lic lose con­fi­dence in the in­dus­try. With ar­eas such as the gov­ern­ment­founded Aged Care Fund­ing In­stru- ment (ACFI) the Aged Care Act and the Aged Care Leg­is­la­tion un­der re­view, the abil­ity for re­gional aged care fa­cil­i­ties to meet with the Fed­eral Min­is­ter was in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant.

Over­all, the con­sen­sus was the round ta­ble dis­cus­sion is a pos­i­tive and open dis­cus­sion to have.

‘‘I think it’s im­por­tant for all in­dus­tries to have first hand con­tact with their peo­ple in gov­ern­ment,’’ Colin Price said.

In a state­ment to The River­ine Her­ald the Min­is­ter wel­comed the round ta­ble dis­cus­sion and fu­ture open river­ine­herald.com.au con­ver­sa­tions with in­dus­try work­ers.

‘‘It’s heart­en­ing to know our views and ideas have the po­ten­tial to be­come part of pol­icy,’’ Mr Wy­att said.

‘‘It was won­der­ful meet­ing with lo­cal providers be­cause they gave me great insight into what is hap­pen­ing on the ground.

‘‘The is­sues they raised with me will in­form the way I de­velop poli­cies and strate­gies for se­nior Aus­tralians.

‘‘Their frank­ness and hon­esty were very help­ful.’’ the aged care

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