Ask your Medicare Local

Residential aged care providers should ask their Medicare Local to put in place hospital in the home type programs that reduce hospital admissions by providing health treatments to residents in the facility.

By Natasha Egan

Two New South Wales health care programs providing hospital-like treatment to residents in their aged care facility are keeping people out of hospital and residential aged care providers should request their Medicare Local arrange for similar services in their area, a Medicare Local told aged care sector delegates yesterday.

The executive officer of Inner West Sydney Medicare Local, Michael Moore, was speaking at the Aged & Community Services NSW & ACT (ACS NSW & ACT) state conference at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney’s western suburbs yesterday.

In a session on the interface between health and aged care, representatives from the Northern Sydney region’s Acute/Post-Acute Care (APAC) program and the Southcare Geriatric Flying Squad, which operates in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, outlined the success their respective programs were having in reducing hospital admissions for aged care residents.

Dr Moore followed their presentations and lamented that the exemplary models of care that both the APAC and flying squad offered were not more widely available. 

“Ask your Medicare Locals to get them in place in your area because they’re great services,” Dr Moore said was his take home message to delegates.

Elsewhere in his presentation, Dr Moore said the role of Medicare Locals was to keep people well and out of hospital, which they do by talking to people, practitioners and the community. 

Responding to a question about how to engage Medicare Locals who don’t want to be involved in aged care and particularly palliative care, Dr Moore said it was early days and some Medicare Locals were still finding their feet.

He suggested aged service providers team up with representatives from their local acute health care service and take an allied approach to get the Medicare Local on board. 

Advanced Care Planning

Earlier in the day, Russell Kennedy principal Victor Harcourt told delegates of the need to continue working towards getting a national framework for advanced care directives (ACDs), which is a complicated area of law.

“We need a nationally consistent set of laws, policies and understandings that doesn’t cause the level of anxiety that it does at the moment,” Mr Harcourt said.

Mr Harcourt spoke of ACDs, which are instructions given by someone that they consent or refuse to treatment at a time of future need when they might not be able to make a decision, as a human rights’ issue that gives people their autonomy when it is most challenged. 

The lack of national consistency is becoming a much more pressing issue nowadays as the cohort of residents coming into rcare services are older and frailer than ever before, Mr Harcourt said.

The varying rules and regulations in different states is also a problem for national organisations which cannot roll out uniform instructions to facilities, he said.

Above: Conference MC and voice over professional, Robyn Moore

The power of the word

The event’s Master of Ceremonies and voice-over professional Robyn Moore entertained delegates throughout the day by singing tunes from television commercials she featured in and talking in the voice of children’s favourite Blinky Bill and doing impersonations of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. 

Ms Moore finished off the first day’s proceeding with a presentation on the power of the word. 

“Our job in aged care is to empower,” Ms Moore said.

Optimism, humour and passion are the three essential characteristics people working in the aged services sector need to do that, she said.

And the “thieves” to watch out for are cynicism, resignation, anger and procrastination, she warned. 

To help remember the thieves, Ms Moore suggested using the first letter of each word to make a new one, “CRAP”.

Day two of the conference continues today where first up, Ms Moore promised to reveal her “CRAP” attack disarmament procedure.

Tags: aged-and-community-services-nsw-act, medicare-locals, robyn-moore, state-conference, victor-harcourt,

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