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Are aged care organisations ready for reablement mandate?


After years of debate and discussion, the wellness and reablement approaches are now a requirement in community aged care. But are organisations ready?

Since 1 July community care providers are now expected to increasingly adopt a wellness approach in service delivery across both home support (through the CHSP guidelines) and in home care (through CDC).

What’s more, places under the government’s new restorative care program, which aims to help older people regain their independence after a setback, will be allocated by a competitive process in early 2016.

But while some providers have been pursuing enabling approaches in recent years, for many services the greater adoption of these approaches will represent a significant challenge.

Community care providers, allied health professionals, researchers and trainers are gearing up to discuss these challenges – and strategies to overcome them – at the Active Ageing Conference 2015, being held in Sydney on 29 October 2015.

Ahead of the conference, being hosted by Australian Ageing Agenda and Community Care Review, the speakers and workshop facilitators have been discussing the key issues they see confronting community aged care organisations and their staff.

Leadership needed for organisations to meet requirements

Carrie Hayter

Carrie Hayter

Providers must resist the temptation to adopt standardised approaches to wellness and reablement, instead empowering frontline staff to work creatively with clients in developing personalised strategies, says researcher and consultant Carrie Hayter, who is delivering the plenary presentation.

Ms Hayter says that, as many seniors don’t understand the rationale behind the active ageing approaches, and often resist them, frontline workers need to become advocates for reablement, backed by supportive leadership.

She says the new requirements presented the sector with a leadership challenge, as the issue is around how community care organisations and their staff, and the related allied health professionals, engage older people and their carers in the development and implementation of active ageing approaches. (Read more here).

Effective communication strategies are key

Lindsay Tighe

Lindsay Tighe

Sector trainer and coach Lindsay Tighe has a simple message for Australia’s aged care workers: stop telling clients what to do, ask them better questions, and listen to what they say.

Ms Tighe, who is facilitating a breakfast workshop at the conference, says that a change in communication style could enable frontline care workers to implement person-centred and wellness approaches with clients.

“We typically spend too much time telling others what to do and unknowingly prevent them from being resourceful,” says Ms Tighe, an author and coach who works with various aged care and disability services. (Read more here)

Ensuring staff wellbeing is key

Marisa Galiazzo

Marisa Galiazzo

For aged care organisations to effectively deliver the active ageing approaches now expected under the reforms, they must first ensure the wellbeing of staff, says Marisa Galiazzo of Green Sea Shell Consulting.

In order to deliver the active ageing approaches it is essential that aged care providers ensure a focus on staff wellness runs throughout their organisation, says Ms Galiazzo, who is speaking on the ‘Putting it into practice’ panel session.

She says that frontline care workers were the face and brand of an organisation and, in order for them to effectively educate clients about active ageing, it was essential that their own health and wellbeing was supported by organisational wellness initiatives. (Read more here).

Clients risking health due to poor diet

Ngaire Hobbins

Ngaire Hobbins

With up to 30 per cent of seniors living at home at risk of malnutrition, community care staff must encourage clients to eat properly in order to prevent falls and unnecessary hospitalisations, says dietitian and author Ngaire Hobbins.

Ms Hobbins will facilitate a workshop at the conference on the importance of food within an overarching wellness approach.

She says that the prevailing urban myth that older people don’t need to eat as much as young people is prompting many seniors to eat too little, causing themselves serious health problems as a result. (Read more here).

Internet-enabled mobile devices are an exceptionally powerful tool

Jeff Brand

Dr Jeff Brand

Aged care providers should be thinking about incorporating experience-type services and harnessing the power of the smartphone to deliver them, says Dr Jeffrey Brand, a professor of communication and creative media at Bond University.

Dr Brand is participating in a panel at the conference and will discuss how to enhance seniors’ physical and emotional wellbeing through a range of pursuits from everyday leisure activities to video game apps.

He says experiences matter much more to people as they age than material things do and the addition of the internet-enabled smartphone – a personal computer in your pocket – brings a powerful element to the concept.

The Active Ageing Conference 2015 takes place on 29 October at the Amora Hotel, Sydney. Visit the conference website to access the full program and register



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6 Responses to Are aged care organisations ready for reablement mandate?

  1. Terina Edwards September 30, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    The feedback we have been receiving from clients from the very large organisations is that nothing has changed. Several have rung up asking to be reviewed as they want to change the services their packages pay for and the companies have told them that they are not due for a review until December and there will not be much choice for them to make. I am very disappointed that the larger companies are doing this and all this money that has been spent is just wasted money and once again its all Government Rhetoric. Cant wait until the clients get the power to change providers and use their funding to do the talking. I know they can now but many won’t as they see it as money belonging to the organisation, not them. Our clients have fed back they have not received any information about their rights under this new scheme, what type of services they can access or any information. As usual I have fed this back to the DSS and there has been no response! What a waste of millions of tax payers dollars.

  2. Country Carer October 1, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    If you’re talking “effective communication strategies” then how about starting with plain English! “Reablement”…what??? Anyone caring for an elderly parent or family member will know that they are stubborn and do not want to be told what to do…by anyone! CDC means the focus is on the person, not the provider. So much money is being wasted on providers being seen to do the right things and being compliant, instead of it being spent directly on and for the welfare of the individual.

  3. Caroline October 12, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    And once again, the responsibility shifts to frontline care workers who are both demonised and heralded in one swoop!

    Lindsay Tighe states that ‘they need to stop telling clients what to do’. Although if one looked deeper, it’s more about compliance and timeframes to get job done by care worker. What research supports that care workers do this? I’ve been a care worker and have never told clients what to do.

    Carrier states that potential clients don’t understand the rationale behind reablement… of course they don’t because there is not a process of consumer education just rollout of concepts, submissions and critique. Reablement is currently understood within a health model of care and needs to shift toward a social model of care. I argue for a diversity of reablement approaches.

    Marisa is correct.. frontline workers needs to be supported to understand their own health and wellbeing before they can educate clients. If anything, care workers should be the face of every organisation not clients or management! This is the coalface of service provision.

    And finally Ngaire makes a point about nutrition intake. But I am of the view that nutrition is critical to mental, physical and emotional health. Let’s talk about nutrition from a whole-of-person focus. I’m fortunate to briefly experience caring for people with AOD addictions in a psych facility. In a 3 week program, the difference between the first and third week is enormous because nutrition or regular meals is part of the day’s support. The first thing that goes for people with addictions is regular and healthy meals in favour of high fat diets.

    We need a much broader conversation about wellness and reablement. Are careworkers part of the conversation across an organisation? Let’s start here.

  4. Dr Drew Dwyer October 14, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    In the end we are asking for a complete change of system, standard, skill and performance from the frontline workers. I have a great advocacy for this model, however the skills in effective communication, counselling and case management need to be in the spotlight. This type of work seems to keep attracting higher skills needs from frontline carers and support staff, with no increase to pay and conditions.

    C.A.S.E Managers are the key to successful empowerment to people to transform them to a positive healthier wellness utilising reablement strategy. This requires higher education and skills training to staff to achieve the goals in care leadership. At least diploma level learning.

    Who is paying for this and what is the remuneration for the staff undertaking this challenging role, will always be in the minds of the frontline workers. It is not as easy as people think to provide wellness and reablement to all individuals and all diversities. Get out of the ivory towers and come and give some direct care and support in the models that are being preached and legislated. The reflect on who is needed and how we will support them in this new domain of care.

    Impossible to do alone , impossible to do unsupported, impossible to do for nothing, BUT not impossible………

  5. Monica Beckman October 18, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    Yes its time for the dedicated staff who work with our seniors in their homes to get paid according for what is being asked of us.
    Change after change is so stressful for providers and their staff.
    We cant keep up!!!!
    Living in rural NSW and expected to travel to clients, education, forums and training on changes and Departmental requirements is too much
    Also Seniors can not afford all they are eligible for. They are declining services they need
    as they cant pay for them its getting too expensive.

  6. AbbotsfordAlan November 5, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    Person-centred care, reablement etc looks difficult if its not your current practice. Have a look at what Victoria has done in the last few years in HACC. The Active Service approach, based on work done in UK, Otago and WA, centres on a goal-oriented, client-driven conversation, with flexible and tailored support (not service) that wraps around the person. It includes the person, their family, their carer, community and interests. This strengths-based approach is designed to support the person to live the life they choose, rather than being pigeon-holed into an “aged care service” /deficit model of care that doesn’t quite fit.

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