South Australian-based not-for-profit aged care provider Helping Hand has received $500,000 to develop a program to help seniors who grew up in out-of-home care access aged care services.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced funding for the program being co-designed by Helping Hand, Relationships Australia South Australia and Flinders University last Friday.

The program, Care, the second time around, will help Forgotten Australians, who are also known as care leavers, understand and engage with aged care services and help aged care providers respond appropriately to their needs.

Forgotten Australians refers to people who experienced trauma as child after being placed into out-of-home or institutional care prior to 1989 often due to the death or illness of a parent, family breakdown or limited support services.

Helping Hand CEO Chris Stewart said the program would assist aged care providers in understanding how to better support Forgotten Australians.

Chris Stewart

“This is an amazing opportunity, not just for Helping Hand, but for all providers to better understand and respond to the needs of more than 500,000 older Australians who have been let down in the past in care delivery,” Mr Stewart told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Mr Stewart said the program is an expansion of the guide Forgotten Australians, Real Care the Second Time Around, which Helping Hand launched in February to assist providers to meet the needs of this group (read more here).

He said Helping Hand worked with older Australians who grew up in care to understand the issues they faced when accessing aged care services.

“We wanted to know what mattered most and recognise their unique stories and the real fears that they have around needing support,” he said.

“The funds will be used to create practical tools to help individuals and aged care providers communicate and share critical information about care delivery.

“We can build capacity in the sector to provide quality care that meets the needs of this group, including trauma informed care in both residential and home care settings,” Mr Stewart said.

The program will be co-designed with Forgotten Australians, experts in trauma informed care, research evaluators and the aged care sector, Mr Stewart said.

The funded-initiative will run over two years commencing next month.

Care leavers are among 12 groups identified in the Aged Care Diversity Framework as people who need compassionate care and special consideration as they age.

The funding will be provided through the government’s $34 million Dementia and Aged Care Services fund, which aims to strengthen the aged care sector to respond to the challenges of reforms.

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