The government is working with sector stakeholders and consumers on a new diversity framework to ensure seniors who have special needs are adequately cared for in the aged care system, Australian Ageing Agenda has confirmed.
In an interview featuring in the latest issue of AAA magazine, out this week, the Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said he had been meeting with groups representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI), culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Aboriginal seniors to discuss the framework and its development.
“I just had a roundtable with representatives of the LGBTI community and I’ve agreed to meet them with quarterly on the framework,” Mr Wyatt said.
“They will help to write the document, along with representatives from the CALD and Aboriginal communities.”
On Wednesday Mr Wyatt was named Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, in a limited Cabinet reshuffle following the resignation of Sussan Ley as health minister (read AAA’s story here).
Mr Wyatt’s confirmation of a new diversity strategy is timely; funding for the staff training element of the LGBTI aged care strategy expired last June, while indigenous groups had been pushing for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged care strategy to match the LGBTI and CALD documents.
AAA understands the new diversity framework will outline the principles of good practice in diversity and be underpinned by specific “action plans” for each of the special needs groups addressing practical issues such as staff training and resources.
The framework may also include homelessness and disability within its remit.
Focus on special needs
Mr Wyatt has been working closely with sector stakeholders on reform issues since he was appointed assistant minister for aged care in September 2015, and has progressively moved to put special needs groups on the government’s aged care agenda.
Speaking at the Australian Association of Gerontology national conference last year he made it clear that any future reforms of the sector would need to consider Aboriginal seniors, veterans and LGBTI seniors, as well as those living in rural and remote areas.
“These groups often have complex and unique needs and we require an environment that fosters innovation and in which providers can develop and deliver tailored services,” he told the Canberra audience.
The full interview with Mr Wyatt appears in the current issue of AAA magazine (Jan-Feb)