BETTER OUTCOMES FOR SENIORS
SA-BEST respects the worth, dignity and values of senior South Australians and their rights to access support community services. SA-BEST is committed to strengthening communities across our State to ensure that people are not isolated, neglected or abused. With respect to the special needs of the elderly, we will improve both the standard of and access to support services through a comprehensive range of evidence based policies initiatives.
As many of the financial responsibilities for senior citizens sit with the Federal Government, we will lobby Canberra to ensure that services are better co-ordinated and financed to maximise outcomes for the elderly. In addition to our separate but related Vulnerable Protection Policy, we support a range of initiatives which will improve the scope and standard of community support and commonwealth care services to vastly improve the wellbeing of our senior citizen’s.
SA-BEST will work on targeted education and training for health care professionals, increased access to improved community based services, increased palliative care, mobile dental services and advocate for free public transport. In recognition of the key recommendations of the Council of the Ageing (COTA), SA-BEST will also advocate for stronger and more flexible housing options for the elderly. SA-BEST is committed to standing up for aging South Australians and in particular it will work to achieve:
GREATER SUPPORT TO SOUTH AUSTRALIAN AGED CARE PROVIDERS
- Negotiate reform of the Federal Government’s “My Aged Care Portal” to allow better and more timely access to commonwealth funded community based and residential services. Simplification of the portal will help deliver services faster and therein reduce unnecessary admission to acute hospitals. There are some 101,000 people waiting too access community care programs at a national level. This equates to approximately 7000 South Australians. This reform MUST be driven at a state level.
- Support implementation of CCTV in aged care facilities where requested by the resident, family or guardian with appropriate privacy and governance controls in place. This will greatly enhance the monitoring of safety for residents in aged care settings.
- Improve standard of training for all certificate 3 health care and social welfare staff. South Australia should be driving the reform in aged care training. Pushing for a standard national curriculum, minimum training periods of 6 months. Establish new minimum criteria that RTO’s need to achieve before they can be accredited to provide the training. Introduce an annual audit of all training outcomes achieved by RTO’s to ensure quality training outcomes.
- Advocate for increased gerontological and palliative care curriculum time within the undergraduate nursing degrees.
- Increase the number of Transitional Professional Practice places to around 700- 1000 per annum to provide greater supports for new graduates within the state health system. This is an increase from the current 300 places made available. South Australian graduate nurses are being neglected by poor support systems in the SA Health System. The cost of this increase can be funded through the direct reduction in the use of agency staff which attract higher rates of pay.
- Work with all stakeholder groups to better manage the aged care industry to develop and implement a more appropriate level of staff ratios which is reflective of higher level skill mix.
- Increase the capacity of the South Australian Ambulance Service to respond to aged care services to support nursing staff with palliative care issues. This will reduce the number of inappropriate acute admissions and save hundreds of $000’s per annum in acute bed occupancy and improve lifestyle options for aged care residents.
INCREASED SUPPORT FOR INDEPENDENT SENIORS
- Expand community based health services to provide ‘one stop shop’ information and advice source to support individual consumers to make informed decisions and remain in control of their own health status. Information should be focused on healthy living activities across the life spectrum, recreational and sporting activities, general health promotion and chronic health management (diabetes / asthma / emphysema). By providing greater access to education and service information at community level, there will be greater opportunity for equity and access and appropriate referrals to appropriate health interventions and this will avoid unnecessary presentations to acute hospital A&E services
- Remove the eligibility requirements and limitations on the use of the Senior’s Card to permit free public transport. This will mean all South Australians over the age of 60 will be eligible to free public transport and not discriminate against age or income. This will cost the government a mere $1.2 Million per annum
- SA-BEST supports the need to increase funding for palliative care services by $24.5 Million per annum, and an additional $ 400K for recurrent operational funding to Palliative Care SA Inc.
- Implement mobile dental services delivering services to high need designated areas with the outer reaches of Adelaide’s metropolitan area, rural and remote areas including indigenous dental care. This will involve the supply and delivery of 6 new mobile dental vehicles which will create jobs in SA. Dental disease is well documented to be a significant cause of heart disease and strokes in the elderly. Reduction in dental decay in our elderly will ultimately reduce costs to the health system. The vehicles will be designed around the current SA Breast Screen Model that are used across the state
- Lobby Federal Government to ensure South Australian Meals on Wheels receive the increase in recurrent funding. Missing out on a calculated $1.6 million dollars in recurrent funding provided to all other states in 2017.
BETTER AND MORE FLEXIBLE HOUSING OPTIONS
- Support replication of the highly successful State Government of Victoria’s ‘Home at Last’ program which promotes use of existing resources in a flexible manner to better deliver housing services.
This supports the use of existing housing to support socially and financially disadvantaged, those without families or in drug and alcohol recovery programs.
- Investigate the most cost effective model of reducing the cost of electricity usage to low income individuals regardless of their accommodation options. The cost of electricity to those occupying either public housing or private rentals who are living solely on pensions should be calculated as a percentage of usage with a realistic fixed cap. The difference between the cap and pensioner contribution will be made up by the government.
- SA-BEST acknowledges the skills and life experiences that can be utilised through employment of the over 60 population. We will investigate the most cost effective models to provide incentives to employers to employ older South Australians.