In last week’s blog post, Carrie asked me “why do we need New Aged Care Standards?”
If you missed that post, check it out by clicking here.
In this post, we are addressing a different question, one you might be asking: “What difference will the new standards make for the end consumer?” And by ‘consumer’ I mean ‘older person’. This is a topic that I am very passionate about and I can talk about it for ages – just ask Carrie. However, I will try to restrain myself for your sake!
Minister Ken Wyatt made a speech to the Advisory Group explaining why the New Standards will make a difference and why it’s so important that one of the most vulnerable groups of people – our elderly – get the care and support that is right for them.
My takeaway from his speech was really about the ‘essence’ of understanding the consumer’s needs as a person.
Firstly, we need recognition of how important care is to older people and how to provide the care that is right for them and maintains their independence. In simple terms, when you ask older people what they really want, most of the time they want to remain in their own home for as long as possible. We need to provide support that’s right for them, enabling people to maintain connections, value and dignity.
We also need to ‘walk a mile’ in the shoes of an older person. Doing this, we can understand their needs better and and see how we are making a difference when providing care and support.
How do we put ourselves in the shoes of the people we support?
We need to recognise the needs, feelings and emotions of the older person, understanding what affects them. For example:
- an older person may feel loneliness, seeing loved ones pass away, thinking about the time they themselves have left;
- they may feel fear about the direction their life has taken, and in some cases their increased vulnerability;
- they be concerned for those nearest to them, perhaps those who depend upon them for emotional or other support and who may struggle when they are no longer around;
- perhaps they need comfort and connection – having someone who will take the time to sit with them, listen to their stories about the past, what they did, the experiences and joy and even the hurt they have endured;
- people need recognition of their humanity – people are people, we all have fears, foibles, likes, dislikes, odd little habits or rituals that help make us who we are. These enhance the diversity of the community we live in;
- they need surety, familiarity and comforting surrounds – the opportunity to age ‘in place,’ close to family, friends and kin is important. Support environments, particularly where people are no longer able to live at home should reflect this need;
- all people, regardless of age, need to do the things that matter to them – meaningful activities that stimulate or calm them, that make them feel ‘whole’ and a part of the world;
- they need ‘hope’ that things will be okay or better for those they leave behind and when the time comes, as it does for us all, they want to be able to leave in peace and in a way that is right for them.
Finally, it’s about holding service providers to account, ensuring better transparency, accountability and appropriate systems and processes.
It’s about making sure that when something does go wrong, steps are taken to fix the problem, apologies are made for mistakes and changes are made to ensure that things, or the way we do things, are fixed.
If providers and their staff embrace this ‘essence’ then we can make a difference.
We will see a change for the better for everyone involved – the older person, their family and carers, as well as the staff and managers that support them through this stage of life.
The New Standards are reflective of what aged care consumers, their families and their carers expect to see: safe and responsive care and supports that are delivered their way.
I hope I’ve been able to share with you some of my enthusiasm around this topic. Next week, we will share feedback from providers about the impact the New Standards will have on their organisations and what changes they have already started to make in preparation for the transition.
This blog post is part of a series on the New Aged Care Standards, where we investigate how and why they were developed and take an in depth look at each of the Standards to give you ideas for implementing these effectively within your organisation. If this is of relevance to you and you’re not signed up for our short email alerts, fill in the quick form at the bottom of the page and we will let you know when the next post is released. We also send a monthly round up of other significant industry related news. It’s a great summary and easy read!
Other posts in this series
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Outside of work, Donna keeps busy with family and a passion for horses and holistic approaches in land and animal care.