As we age, we want to be able to have the stock-standard care we all expect such as robust medical care and access to allied health services like pharmacists and podiatrists. But we also want to grab some milk when it runs out, dust the tops of our cupboards, clean the spouting and pick up the groceries when we need them.
The Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC) Program provides services that support older people to stay at home and be more independent in the community however at the recent COTA Vic conference (as part of the Aged Care Services for the Future workshop), the disparity between what is offered by each local council was evident among the responses in my workshop group.
Perhaps it is ill awareness of what each council offers in the way of services, or maybe there are some councils who offer better home maintenance packages than others, but regardless the need for streamlined care and services across the state (and nationally) is needed.
Additionally the need for information on what services are available to older people living at home is vital and needs to be communicated in a way that will reach those who need it most. It was evident among workshop attendees that with regards to knowing what services are available to you, it was a case of ‘you only know what’s available when you know’. Unfortunately this isn’t considered ‘general knowledge’ and because of this, some people go without.
Streamlining and communicating services available to older people in the community is integral in standardising care for all older Australians. Perhaps we will be able to see some of these changes when the National Aged Care Gateway launches this year.