Supporting First Nations people to access aged care

Federal Government funding will help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander seniors access culturally appropriate services.

The Federal Government is investing $106 million to provide face-to-face support to help older First Nations people access aged care services. It is also providing further funding of $115 million to build culturally safe aged care facilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander seniors.

In an Australian first, the Trusted Indigenous Facilitators program will build a First Nations workforce to help older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their families and carers access aged care services that meet their physical and cultural needs.

Anika Wells

Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said: “The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended the government ‘ensure that the new aged care system makes specific and adequate provision for the diverse and changing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’ – and so we are doing just that.”

A First Nations workforce that supports older First Nations people will enable a system that is “more accessible and better able to focus on the aged care service needs of our diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community,” Minister Wells added.

Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians Malarndirri McCarthy said First Nations communities experience many barriers when accessing aged care services. “Lack of culturally safe care, a complex system, ongoing trauma, and social and economic disadvantages all contribute to older First Nations people accessing aged care services at a rate lower than needed.” 

The workforce program will be run by the Australian Government in partnership with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, which is the national leadership body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia.

Pat Turner

In a statement NACCHO welcomed the funding for the workforce. “We are grateful to receive this investment that will help us deliver much better outcomes for our Elders,” said NACCHO CEO Pat Turner.

The 250-strong workforce will be predominately drawn from local communities and implemented in “genuine partnership, where equal weight is given to the sector’s voice at the table alongside that of governments and agencies, ensuring equal decision-making authority with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Ms Turner added.

NACCHO’s advisory group of representatives from Aboriginal community controlled health organisations who currently deliver aged care services or want to become a provider will oversee the implementaiton of the program.

This group will advise NACCHO on areas including the development of a model of care, service linkages, and workforce training requirements.

Culturally safe aged care facilities

Meanwhile, four National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care services in South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland will receive funding to construct culturally safe, purpose-built aged care facilities.

“NATSIFAC services respond to the needs of local communities by not only providing quality aged care services and employment opportunities for First Nations people, it also provides staff housing to ensure workforce retention and projects to improve integrated health services,” Minister Wells said.

“This grant funding empowers older First Nations people, communities and NATSIFAC providers to contribute to the development of contemporary building design, suitable for people living with dementia, limited mobility, cultural needs and aligned with local expectations,” she added.

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Tags: anika wells, featured, First Nations, Malarndirri McCarthy, NACCHO,

2 thoughts on “Supporting First Nations people to access aged care

  1. I hope space for oral care in the to be constructed culturally safe, purpose-built aged care facilities will be included. Makes it so much easier for visiting dental practitioners providing oral assessment and oral care.

  2. Indigenous aged care funding is already massively ahead of general aged care funding. How much do they need?
    With the new funding model the government says that the basic cost to deliver care is $218.80 per resident per day. A normal facility that’s perfectly good enough for every nationality will receive 49% of the $216.80 while indigenous homes will get 180% . Almost four times as much per resident!
    This is unreasonable, unwarranted and definitely not fair.

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