This submission seeks to highlight the need for the provision of aged care services to older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a manner consistent with the human rights of self-determination and health.
Older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities are less likely to access aged care services than all other non-Indigenous demographics, inclusive of other ‘special needs’ groups identified under the Aged Care Act (1997), specifically people of CALD backgrounds and members of the LGBTI community. In fact, older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people members are assessed at half the rate of the general population.
- Recruit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers to mentor and provide cultural education to non-Indigenous assessors, to help ensure the delivery of culturally safe assessments.
- Ongoing cultural safety and trauma-informed care training should become a form of continuing professional development for assessors.
- Elders in a mainstream residential care facility, living off Country should have access to social and emotional wellbeing supports funded by the Commonwealth to enable respite from residential aged care facilities. Examples could include Commonwealth funded travel back to Country in order to spend time with Community on a regular basis12, and Commonwealth funded transport for family members to be visit the aged care facility on a regular basis.
- Mainstream aged care providers need to employ more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, and to commit to ongoing formal training for all staff in cultural safety and trauma-informed healing practice and care.
- The Commonwealth must acknowledge the function of trauma as an indicator of poor health and wellbeing outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in and of itself.