The Australian government is reforming aged care in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. LGBTIQ+ Health Australia broadly supports the proposed change but believes it is not sufficient.
The Government will end the former Aged Care Approval Rounds (ACAR) and will begin assigning residential aged care places directly to senior Australians to choose their own provider from 1 July 2024. The change aims to give older Australians more control to choose a provider to best meet their needs. It intends to create a more consumer-driven aged care market where providers need to deliver quality to succeed. Information about the proposals is available at https://consultations.health.gov.au/ageing-and-aged-care/improving-choice-in-residential-aged-care/
For older LGBTIQ+ Australians, there is a high risk that being assigned an aged care place will not give access to a residential aged care bed that is culturally safe and acceptable for them. Some LGBTIQ+ elders need an LGBTIQ+ specialised and/or community controlled facility. Others may accept or prefer a mainstream facility, but need assurance that the service has policies and practices in place to prevent homophobia, transphobia or other discrimination—and ensure a welcoming, supportive environment.
The new assessment process needs to ensure that LGBTIQ+ older people are comfortable and safe divulging personal information including their sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status. It needs to give them multiple opportunities to do so, in a way that builds comfort over time.
LHA’s recommendations include:
- Dedicated LGBTIQ+ support during residential aged care assessment, such as trained navigators.
- Specific LGBTIQ+ quality assurance processes for residential aged care.
- More and better information to improve meaningful choice for LGBTIQ+ elders.
- Incentives to develop new LGBTIQ+ community-controlled and specialist LGBTIQ+ residential aged care.
- Meaningful data collection to show where LGBTIQ+ elders are falling through the gaps.
You can read LGBTIQ+ Health Australia's full submission in the link below: