A lot has happened since the Federal Government handed down its response to the Aged Care Royal Commission through the Federal Budget on 11 May. Both internally at Aged Care Reform Now, and externally with the Government’s agenda for reform. What’s most important is that as a group, we're more committed than ever in continuing to fight for Aged Care Reform - Now!
A one-page pamphlet outlining Aged Care Reform Now’s agenda is available on the Resources section of our website. Feel free to download and share this with anyone who needs to be across our reform agenda.
Liz Barton of our organising committee has penned an article on Aged Care Reform Now 2.0. Why the 2.0? Because as some of you would know, the leadership of Aged Care Reform Now has changed. What hasn’t changed though is the determination to drive human rights, transparency and reform to the aged care sector which is what Liz focuses on in her article.
Meanwhile organising committee members, Amina Schipp and Yvonne Buters spoke to Eleanor Campbell of Aged Care Insite on the continued need to push for reform resulting in the article, ‘We don’t want them to have died in vain’: Families push to hasten reform.
How is Aged Care Reform Now organised?
With the changes in leadership, we thought it would be helpful to provide an overview of the group. Aged Care Reform Now is a grassroots volunteer organisation made up of people passionate about seeing changes in the way aged care services are delivered in Australia.
There is an organising committee that coordinates the activities of the group, with input from action groups and members.
The political action group is keeping the pressure on politicians in the lead up to and beyond the next election.
We have media spokespeople who are willing to speak to the media either sharing their stories or expertise on aged care issues.
There are also specific policy action groups to help influence the new policies to come out of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission. For example, we formed a policy action group to respond to the Department of Health’s consultation on the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) in home care. You can read our submission here.
While these are the main groups, the organisation couldn’t do what it does without you - the members. You can get involved as much or as little as you want. The organisation is continuously evolving so we’ll be sharing updates as we have them. If you have any ideas, want to start a new action group, or join an existing one, please let us know.
Who is on the Aged Care Reform Now Organising Committee?
Many of you would have joined our new Facebook Group - Aged Care Reform Now 2.0, and have seen our committee members as Admins or posting.
Currently there are eleven members of the Organising Committee, but we’re looking to ensure all States and Territories are covered. We’re all about leveraging the brains trust available to us in this wonderful membership. So if you’re interested in joining the Organising Committee or would like to run a working group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or message one of the people listed below.
The organising committee meets every Wednesday night at 7.45pm AEST. If you would like to join us for a meeting or more, please email email@example.com. We welcome all contributions to the discussion and transparency of our meetings.
Aged care … the journey to the present: Where to now?
If you wanted a quick history on how aged care got to be in the mess it is today, then this article from Aged Care Reform Now Organising Committee member Liz Barton will help. As a retired nurse who fought for nurse/patient ratios in Victoria for 15 years, Liz is well credentialed to give us her perspective.
Share it with friends and family so they can see why Aged Care needs reform now!
We believe it is only by working together – with older people, families, staff, providers, peak bodies, unions, academics, health bureaucrats, and politicians – that older people in Australia will receive the care and support they need.
We’ve been working to facilitate collaborations with like-minded organisations who share our vision for reform. Our current collaborators are on our website and we’ll have some more exciting announcements coming soon.
Aged Care Legal Advocacy and Reform Matter (ALARM) is a new not-for-profit organisation promoting law reform in aged care. Aged Care Reform Now is working with ALARM to shine a light on many areas of reform in the law related to aged care services. You can read more about our collaboration with ALARM here.
Independent Retirees Association
Our WA team recently met with members of the Independent Retirees Association and there are many areas of overlap and common interest. The Independent Retirees Association’s aim is to advance and protect the interests and independent lifestyle of Australians in or approaching retirement. They have been lobbying the Government on issues such as dental health for seniors which is also an important issue in aged care. The Royal Commission recommended the establishment of a seniors dental benefit scheme but the Government has not accepted this recommendation, instead stating it needs further consideration. We’re keen to join forces to push for quality outcomes for older Australians.
Engaging with the Department of Health
The Australian Government Department of Health is primarily responsible for the reform of the aged care sector. It’s important that we constructively engage with the department in order to push our reform agenda.
A few members of the Aged Care Reform Now organising committee recently had a constructive meeting with the engagement team from the Department of Health.
We told them our top three priorities were:
2. A rewriting of the Aged Care Act
3. Enforceability and accountability of the Act, standards, etc - aka accountability.
Of course, there are so many issues to solve, but none of them work without these three.
We also asked for a timetable of upcoming consultations so our members can get organised and we can manage "consultation fatigue".
A calendar is meant to be forthcoming and we'll share with you what we know. In the meantime, you can sign up for alerts on the Aged Care Engagement Hub.
Pushing ahead with the pollies in Western Australia
While our WA team has been free from lockdowns, they have been pushing ahead with meeting politicians face to face to push our reform agenda.
Since our last update, they have had meetings with Senators and MPs including Senator Rachel Siewert, Senator Dean Smith with 10 ACRN Members, Crispin Roberts in place of Don Punch MLA , Paul Lilburne MLA and Christian Porter.
They have used the opportunity to ask direct questions of our politicians and have received assistance in getting answers from Minister Colbeck’s office, when we could not get them directly.
We are currently planning our next phase of political action and will keep you updated on how you can join in.
Dates for your diary
Tues 14 Sep - Supports during COVID-19 webinar organised by OPAN - https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/your-wellbeing-supports-during-covid-19-registration-169232082715
Tues 28 Sep - Staying physically active webinar organised by OPAN - https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/your-wellbeing-staying-physically-active-registration-169429816141
Thur 30 Sep - Survey for anyone who attended the recent aged care reforms webinars closes, organised by the Department of Health - https://healthau.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1ZzgWNcjXZJtMIC
Fri 1 Oct - Ageism Awareness Day organised by EveryAge Counts - coincides with the UN’s International Day of Older Persons https://www.everyagecounts.org.au/ageism_awareness_day_2021
Tues 12 Oct - Social and emotional strategies webinar organised by OPAN - https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/your-wellbeing-social-and-emotional-strategies-registration-169431366779
Yours in action,
The Aged Care Reform Now team