May 18, 2015

Australian Ageing Agenda - May-June 2015

Full text articles are available to fee paying members of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW by emailing 

News highlights – p. 6-9
  • The Centre for Health Brain Ageing at the University of NSW is seeking support for a new initiative that aims to ramp up dementia research through a mega-database of international research and a large Australian prevention trial.
  • Study funded by NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre will determine the true costs of dementia care
  • CEOs converge in Canberra for pre-Budget lobbying
  • Fifield pushes for single system – strong statements in support of a consolidated home support and home care package program

News feature
Call for integrated approach to young people in care
Residential aged care has become the default option for many young people with severe disabilities requiring high levels of care and support.  A Senate inquiry is currently examining some of the solutions to this long-standing problem.
p. 10-11

Facing the fear
Dr Briony Dow
Recent initiatives have conveyed an important message for aged care staff to seek to understand what is happening from the point of view of the person with dementia.
p. 12 

Unfolding changes warrant greater scrutiny
As Australia moves towards a deregulated aged care market, one based on greater competition, international and local research suggests that we need to closely monitor the impacts on quality.  But the lack of good data in Australia will compound the challenge, writes Dr Richard Baldwin.
p. 20-21 

Talking points
Removing the rations
The issue: should government caps on aged care places be lifted?
p. 22-23 

The art of the deal
Merger and acquisition activity in Australian aged care last year eclipsed the pre-GFC period. Having been involved in several of those transactions, Cam Ansell shares the characteristics of an efficient due diligence process, and the pitfalls to avoid.
p. 24-25 

Does the 28-day rule prevent residents deciding to pay a RAD before entry?
While the department is seeking to interpret the law in a manner consistent with the policy intention that prospective residents are not denied a place because they choose to pay by a DAP, it is doubtful that the legislative provisions are as restrictive as they suggest
p. 26-27 

Portraits of emerging leaders
Achieving age diversity has been a longstanding challenge facing aged care boards.  Darragh O’Keeffe profiles four professionals who are involved in a young leaders program in the sector and have some big ideas for aged care.
p. 28-29 

Making it in the market
For many aged care NFPs, the need to compete in a market-based sector presents a profound challenge – how to maintain commercial viability while fulfilling their mission.  Two advisors tell why a focus on purpose should be the primary driver.
p. 30-31 

Going after quality – as I lives depend on it
Providing consistently safe, high quality care in aged care is not easy.  Dr Cathy Balding outlines five actions aged care board members can take to achieve strategic quality governance.
p. 32-34 

Speaking up: it’s what we do around here
Claims of mistreatment and poor outcomes in residential aged care have been back in the news lately. AAA asks organizational psychologists with experience in the sector to share their insights into how providers can create a culture where staff feel supported and safe making a report to management.
p. 36-37 

In Conversation
Unfinished business
With the government open to considering some of the more ambitious proposals put forward by the Productivity Commission in 2011, sector stakeholders are now determining what measures they want on the table.  Here, one of the report’s co-authors Sue Macri tells why she thinks the PC’s recommendations on the uncapping of places and quality of training must feature in the next phase of reform.
p. 38-39
Benetas – putting the customer at the centre
Informed by extensive research with its customers and their families, as well as staff, Benetas is pioneering a new Customer Experience Model that aims to redefine how aged care meets the needs and preferences of seniors.
p. 40-43

‘Emotional intelligence key to care’
David Sheard has a passionate and uncompromising stance on dementia care.  AAA meets the instigator of the Butterfly Care Home ahead of his Australian speaking tour in June
p. 44

What is the story with dementia-friendly communities?
Over the last few years there has been much discussion about the aim to create more dementia-friendly communities.  But what does this mean and what is happening in practice? To help us understand we asked three contributors to share their thoughts:  Carol Bennett, CEO Alzheimer’s Australia; Philly Hare, program manager ‘Dementia without Walls’ and Agnes Houston, vice chair European Person With Dementia Working Group.
p. 46-47

Empathy is key to alleviating worrying behaviours
With research indicating 90 per cent of people with dementia will experience one or more behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), it is essential that aged care staff know how to respond.  Judi Weaver, senior dementia care advisor with Alzheimer’s Australia NSW,  explains why these symptoms occur and outlines some strategies to alleviate them.
p. 48-49 

Building and refurb
Facilities of the future
In addition to meeting current tastes and preferences, a core consideration for Australian architects and builders is that aged care facilities must function to support new and emerging models of care.  AAA profiles three projects that do just that.
p. 50-56 

Frontline view
Volunteering’s rich rewards
Former counsellor and author on grandparenting Helene Gonski has devoted much of the last few years to volunteering in aged care.  She recounts the great friendships she has made and the reciprocal benefits of volunteering.

p. 57

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