Rights Of Older People
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History

Topics in this section:

Principles
Role in Aged Care

In 1989-90, the Residential Aged Care Advocacy Services Program (RACASP) was formed as part of the Commonwealth Government's strategy to reform the residential aged care program.

A commissioned report by Ronalds (1989) Residents' Rights in Nursing Homes and Hostels had highlighted a number of factors which may affect residents' capacity or decision to talk about matters of concern, within the facility, including:

  • feeling isolated from family and friends and unable to participate in decisions affecting their lives
  • having little knowledge of the aged care system and their rights as consumers
  • loss of independence and consequent loss of self-esteem; and
  • fear of possible retribution.

One strategy to assist residents to uphold their rights was the establishment of the advocacy services in each state and territory.

The advocacy services receive funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care (DH&AC) to operate the Residential Aged Care Advocacy Services Program, under the RACASP, pursuant to Part 5.5 of the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Advocacy Grant Principles 1997.

The program is managed by the DH&AC, with individual services being delivered through a number of community-based organisations.

Placement of the program within the community sector ensures necessary independent consumer representation and allows for flexible service delivery at the local level.

Since its inception, the consumer base of the Residential Aged Care Advocacy Services Program has grown in response to trends affecting the aged care sector.

These trends have included:

  • increasing emphasis and delivery of community care models, including Community Aged Care Packages as an alternative to residential;
  • increasing age of admission, frailness and level of dementia amongst consumers of residential aged care services;
  • increasing involvement of allied health professionals including Aged Care Assessment Teams, social workers and others as intermediaries for aged persons;
  • increases in the Program's overall consumer base as a result of amalgamations to nursing homes and hostels; and
  • increasing longevity and global trends toward an ageing population

These trends have led to increasing levels of contact by advocacy agencies with carers and other representatives including Aged Care Assessment Teams, Guardianship Boards, solicitors and health professionals.

Mission Statement

To continue to improve the quality of life of consumers of aged care services and to work with individuals and the aged care system to encourage policies, practices and structures in aged care services which ensure protection of consumers' rights.

Vision Statement

A society in which older people are recognised as valued, active and contributing participants and where aged care services are responsive to the rights and needs of consumers.

Goals

To assist consumers of aged care services to voice their complaints and concerns through an advocate or to be encouraged and supported to represent themselves.

To ensure that advocacy is delivered in an efficient and effective manner, whilst maintaining the highest professional reputation for the service.

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