The 2014 Aged Care Services Association (ACSA) National Conference took place in Adelaide last week, with over 1,000 attendees coming together from across the not-for-profit and faith-based aged care sector. With the theme, Coming of Age – Redefining Ageing, sessions over the three day conference covered topics such as Roles for People in Their 80’s and 90’s, and Technology Coming of Age – Perspectives on Engaging with Robotics. These sessions highlighted that the ageing population will continue to alter the way aged care services operate, but that technology and a person-centric focus will allow providers to keep up with demand.
One of the stand-out sessions from the 2014 National ACSA Conference was Mike Rungie’s presentation on Roles for People in Their 80’s and 90’s. In 2013, Mr Rungie was awarded the Geoffrey White Churchill Fellowship to explore roles for people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, specifically in relation to work, volunteering, learning, sport and networks. In undertaking the fellowship, Mr Rungie looked at a 10 year study which measured the quality of care versus the quality of life in a number of residential aged care facilities. Mr Rungie found that the majority of providers – even the ones that ranked outstanding in quality of care – scored in the sub-optimal range in regards to providing a high quality of life to its residents. Over the 10 year study, these facilities worked hard to improve their quality of life ranking, often by increasing the amount of entertainment and activities. However, it was only after providing residents with more meaningful opportunities – such as volunteer roles, education and re-joining groups outside of the facility – did the quality of life rating begin to dramatically improve.
Mr Rungie suggests that residential aged care facilities take a leaf out of the Consumer Directed Care (CDC) approach to home care and create a more person-centric approach to residential care. This could result in a resident volunteering to deliver the mail to all residents, undertaking a course at a local community centre, or re-joining a local choir group that a resident attended before moving into the facility. Not only can this approach greatly increase a resident’s quality of life, it can also have dramatic positive impacts on their general health, as well as being a great draw card in obtaining new residents who are increasingly looking for a more personalised touch from their aged care provider.
When looking to adopt CDC strategies in residential practice, Mr Rungie suggests residential providers seek out home care providers that have successfully implemented CDC and use them as a mentor for how best to enhance their own person-centric focus. Mr Rungie explained that the approach to selecting appropriate aged care is becoming as deliberate and considered as the process of selecting a further educational course at the end of high school. It is therefore imperative that aged care providers are looking to the future of aged care by staying up to date with person-centric practices.
To learn more about the 2014 ACSA National Conference and how technology will change the face of aged care over the next five years, make sure to read part two of our ACSA Conference wrap up next week!
How do you think CDC will change the nature of residential aged care?