Findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and its Impact on LGBTIQ+ People

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) welcomes the public release of the much-awaited Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia has participated in the Royal Commission by providing 70 recommendations, within seven submissions which were supported by consultations with LGBTIQ+ older people, their families, friends and carers and LGBTI aged care workers to ensure their needs were recognised.

Nicky Bath, CEO of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, stated, “The cases of abuse and neglect highlighted in the Royal Commission’s report are heartbreaking. They have revealed what many already knew, that the aged care system is at breaking point and there is a desperate need for training, regulation and increased funding. We know that LGBTI older people are at increased risk of abuse, isolation and discrimination. From our initial review of the report, we are cautiously pleased to see our communities’ needs recognised and documented in the report.”

From this initial review there are elements and principles in the report that LHA are pleased to see included:

  • The Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) should be replaced with a new Act to come into force by no later than 1 July 2023 that is based on a human rights approach.
  • Recognising the problems of access for LGBTI older people and the need for care to meet a person’s individual needs, including care that is culturally appropriate and safe.
  • Recognising that people in aged care have diverse backgrounds and life experiences and for some including LGBTI older people their needs are not being met by the current aged care system.
  • Ensuring all information is made available to people to assist them in making an informed decision about aged care services which is essential for LGBTI older people who need to access safe and appropriate care.
  • The establishment of governance structures to oversee the new aged care systems, we recommend that there is the inclusion of LGBTI specific roles and functions at all levels and transparency across the entire governance system.
  • The enhancement of quality, safety, performance and continuous improvement that recognises diversity, difference and individuality.
  • The importance of LGBTI volunteers have in reducing isolation and maintaining connection to their identity and LGBTI communities.

Nicky Bath continued, “We look forward to in the coming days thoroughly reviewing the report and working with the Government and all stakeholders to meet the needs of LGBTI older people head on as in doing so the lives of all older people will be improved. Now is the time for collective actions that are focused on the evidence”.

Webinar 24 March

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia explored these issues in a webinar on March 24 where the central question will be asked of high-level panelists from across the ageing sector: What do LGBTI older people gain from the recommendations in today’s findings.

Submit concerns or questions for our upcoming LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference here.

Panellists


Kathy Mansfield (she/her) – Transgender “Senior or Elder,” Advocate, Speaker 

LGBTIQ “elder” working with Dr Catherine Barrett and others as part of the “Celebrate Ageing” and “Kinfolk” Projects. Host of “Tranzvictoria” Facebook Group, Extensive Committee Moderator of Gender Diversity Australia (Genda) and Genda and Allies Facebook Groups

  • Previous Board Member of the Gender Rights Organization- “A Gender Agenda” in the ACT
  • Previous Vice President of “Gender Diversity (Australia)”
  • Host of “Tranzvictoria” Facebook Group.
  • Member LGBTI Focus Group with Central Gippsland Health
  • Volunteer at Wellington shire with LGBTIQ youth group “Opal”
  • Board appointee “The Pride Centre” Melbourne
  • Community Representative Wellington Gender Equity and Violence Prevention Partnership

Craig Gear (he/him) – CEO of the Older Persons Advocacy Network

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is overseen by a CEO responsible for coordinating the integration of the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) across nine states and territory service delivery organisations. The OPAN CEO is Craig Gear who was appointed in August 2018.

Craig has extensive experience in health service management and health consulting and was previously the chair of the management board for Senior Rights Service NSW. He is also the director of a health consulting firm focusing on primary care NGOs, ageing, mental health, eHealth and Aboriginal health. Flowing from his background in nursing, he is passionate about connecting and improving the health system for all Australians and also has positions on a number of Non-Government Organisations Boards.


Corey Irlam (he/him)  – Deputy Chief Executive Council Of The Ageing

Corey Irlam is the Deputy Chief Executive for COTA Australia with responsibilities for Government Relations, Special Projects, Advocacy and Communications. While Corey is primarily based in COTA Australia’s Melbourne office he is seen frequently in our Canberra office.

Corey has been with COTA since April 2013 working in the National Aged Care Alliance’s Aged Care Reform Secretariat first as Principal Policy Officer and later as the Aged Care Reform Policy Manager, later working in broader COTA policy areas as Director, Advocacy and Government Relations. As part of these role Corey has led the development of a number of policy positions for COTA Australia and the Alliance including the development of the ‘Integrated Consumer Supports’ position and improving access to assistive technologies for older Australians.

Corey has a Masters in Public Policy and a Masters in Business Administration. He has worked for a range of state and national organisations focused on improving the health and human rights of various populations. Before working in the community sector Corey worked in the corporate sector in various marketing roles including Direct Communications, Digital Marketing, Marketing Operations and Event Management.


Samantha Edmonds (she/her) – Chair of the Aged Care Sector Committee (ASCS) Diversity Subgroup

Ms. Samantha Edmonds is one of Australia’s leading LGBTI inclusive strategists, policy makers and influencers with extensive knowledge and experience in assisting ageing, aged care and health providers develop LGBTI inclusive services. She is passionate about social justice, human rights and ending ageism. Sam is the Managing Director of Ageing with Pride, her own consultancy that specialises in developing, delivering and evaluating projects, programs and services that are respectful, person-centred, culturally safe and inclusive of LGBTI elders and older people. She also currently works as the Manager, Policy and Systemic Advocacy at the Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN). OPAN supports older people and their families and representatives to effectively access and interact with Commonwealth funded aged care services and have their rights protected.

Sam is Chair of the Aged Care Sector Committee (ASCS) Diversity Subgroup which provides advice to the Australian Government on delivering aged care services that are culturally safe and inclusive of all diversity groups, and inclusive aged care policy development and implementation.


Patricia Sparrow (she/her) – CEO Aged and Community Services Australia

Pat Sparrow is a social policy leader and innovator with expertise in stakeholder engagement and management. She has specific and detailed expertise in ageing policy and aged care, having worked as, and with, a diverse range of stakeholders including consumers, service providers, workforce, health professionals, corporate organisations and Government. This unique ‘360 degree’ perspective ensures that Pat’s leadership approach is strategic and nuanced, inclusive and collaborative. No one is better placed to represent ACSA and its members as once-in-a-generation reforms of aged care take place.


Robert Day (he/him) – Assistant Secretary of Dementia and Supported Ageing Branch in the Commonwealth Department of Health

Robert is the assistant Secretary of Dementia and Supported Ageing Branch in the Commonwealth Department of Health – a role he has held since December 2019. Robert brings to the role over 15 years professional experience in Australian Public Service and volunteer experience in a variety of community organisations. Robert and his team in the Dementia and Support Ageing Branch are responsible for:

  • measures to support the aged care sector in meeting the needs of people with diverse characteristics and life experiences
  • dementia policy and research
  • a number of dementia-specific programs which operate in both the community
  • programs which support people as they access the aged care system including the National Aged Care Advocacy Program and the Community Visitors Scheme.

(Moderator) Russell Westacott (he/him) - Program Delivery and Capacity Building Manager, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia

Russell joined LGBTIQ+ Health Australia in November 2020. His role is Program Delivery and Capacity Building Manager. Russell has 35-years experience at working for community-based responses targeting vulnerable and marginalized communities. Over the years he has worked in HIV prevention and health promotion programs and LGBTI human rights advocacy and campaigning. In recent years Russell has played an important role in collaboration with other stakeholders in the formation of two national peak bodies. These are the Older Persons Advocacy Network supporting people in aged care and Elder Abuse Action Australia that works with government to ensure there are adequate community responses to elder abuse across the Australian community. Russell is co-chair of EAAA. During the period of 2011 to late 2020 Russell was the CEO of Seniors Rights Service. This organisation delivered rights-based services to around 40,000 older people each year.

Independently, Russell is a member of the Advisory Board of the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission.


 

Key issues

  • Diversity and inclusion in aged care
  • Impact of findings on LGBTIQ+ people
  • Moving forward, how do these recommendations help/not help LGBTIQ+ people.


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ABOUT LGBTIQ+ Health Australia
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, (formerly the National LGBTI Health Alliance), is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people and other sexuality and gender diverse (LGBTIQ+) people and communities. Dropping the “+” from our name only occurs within digital formats that do not allow mathematical symbols, such as within our domain name, handles and hashtags.
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LGBTIQ+ Health Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge and their continuing connections to land and community. We pay our respects to all Australian Indigenous Peoples and their cultures, and to Elders of past, present and future generations.