As the Australian population ages, an increasing number of OTs will be working in the aged care sector. This might involve working in Residential Aged Care Facilities or working with people who have opted to stay in their own homes. Despite the substantial role that OTs can play in assisting the elderly to continue living their lives to the fullest as they grow old, OTA has received numerous reports from OTs who advise us that their skill sets are often not fully utilised in their work in this sector. This is not only professionally frustrating for OTs, it does disservice to clients who are prevented from accessing the full range of OT supports available to assist them.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety currently underway is an important development in ensuring that our elderly receive appropriate care and respect regardless of the level of care they require. Another important development in the sector occurred in July 2019, when the new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s Aged Care Quality Standards were introduced.
Another issue of concern to OTA is falls prevention. OTA have been very vocal supporters of falls prevention among the elderly, reminding governments and the private health insurance sector that every dollar invested in falls prevention returns multiple dollars in savings to our health system—most notably our public hospitals. And, most importantly, it enhances the safety and the quality of life of our elderly.
OTA continues to advocate for:
- Improved conditions for those accessing Aged Care services – our elderly.
- Rigorous care quality standards in aged care.
- The utilisation of the full range of professional skills offered by occupational therapists working with clients in aged care facilities.
OTA representatives met with Josh Maldon, Director Streamlined Assessment Implementation Section In Home Aged Care Division Department of Health via teleconference on 6 November 2019 and discussed issues, including scope of practice, apparent in the Department’s Reablement trials.
On 28 November Michael Barrett and Jan Erven met with representatives of APA (Australian Physiotherapy Association) and representatives of the Federal Government Department of Health to discuss the ongoing trial of the Australian National Aged Care Classification (ANACC) tool.
Relevant Submissions and Correspondence
- Inquiry into the quality of care in residential aged care facilities in Australia
- Proposal for a new residential aged care funding model
How You Can Help
OTA welcomes feedback about your experiences working with the elderly, and your ideas as to how aged care services can be improved. OTA takes this feedback to government and key stakeholders to advocate for better outcomes for OTs, and their clients.
To provide your feedback on this important issue, please contact OTA.