In this series, Carrie and Kell look at Holiday Planning for Aged Care services in rural and remote areas. It’s all about doing some preparation. We’ll be looking at client-related issues, staffing areas, organisational or service-level tasks and finish up with looking at how you can best use the quiet Christmas and New Year period to catch up and put yourself in a good position for the coming year.

Client Care Considerations

In this first podcast we look at your actions and planning around client care considerations.

Identify vulnerable clients

  • Vulnerable clients can be people who are very frail
  • Have a disability that prevents them from self-care (blind or unable to walk), dementia
  • Rely on others for assistance
  • They may also be someone whose family may often be absent during the holiday period

Vulnerable clients will usually require additional support during the hot summer months. They may require a twice daily check-up from staff e.g. check they have water and are able to move into the shade, they may need support (transport) to access the clinic or they may need to come to the aged care centre during the heat of the day (or perhaps during the winter months if it’s particularly cold).

Even where you are not operating regular program services over this period, it may be necessary to provide daily access to the centre and other support to a vulnerable client. It comes down to your Duty of Care as an Approved Provider of care to the person.

Liaise with other stakeholders

  • Check with the clinic staff as well, find out if they have any concerns and what their plans are during this time (are they closed, shorter working hours, relief / agency staff)

Discuss any plans the client have

  • Identify what plans clients have for going away or for family who come to visit.
    • In a remote setting many clients head off to visit other family over the holiday period so they may be absent from the community. If they are going to another service area you may need to ascertain whether a brokerage arrangement is possible during this period.
    • Clients may also have other family members around during the holiday period, sometimes grandchildren who have been attending school in town may be home for the holidays. This can be good as it allows the person to reconnect with their family member and there may be additional support for the older person. On the flip side, it can present challenges if the younger person places an additional burden on the old person’s resources. Perhaps the person might need to visit the centre for day respite or for their meals.
  • Identify if there is any cultural business that they will be attending over this period
    • Older clients may have obligations to attend a grandchild’s ceremonial business, this can take them away from the community for a period of time or the ceremony may be close to the community and again there may be an additional resource burden incurred by the old person. Certain people hold a cultural responsibility for the provision of food over this period.

Update client emergency response plans

  • Of course the Christmas holiday season falls right at the time of cyclones up north, searing hot winds and temperatures in the Centre and bush fires further south. This is the time to be prepared for the worst.
  • Every client should have an emergency response plan – that is, what their wishes are should there be an emergency or you can’t find the person when you visit to provide a service.
  • These are some of the most important documents to review around October / November each year. Have them accessible should an emergency arise.

Want more information on getting your service ready for the end of year period?

Check out the rest of the Care Directions Podcast episodes in this series:

Episode 018: How Do Your Staffing Levels Look?

Episode 019: Is Your Service Ready?

Episode 020: Quiet Time Opportunities

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Carrie and Kell

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