On the 31st of July our CEO Graham Aitken travelled to Canberra to be a part of the official launch of NATSIAACC, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ageing and Aged Care Council. This exciting new council will work to ensure Elders can access support and care that is culturally safe, trauma aware and healing-informed, and recognises the importance of their personal connections to community and Country. The council will develop policies, advocate for improvements in the sector which will benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander providers and Elders, conduct research, provide education, develop relationships within the sector, and collect important data. Graham is a director on the NATSIAAC board, and ACS is proud to be a part of this new initiative and continue learning from the wisdom and experience of Elders.
Who is NATSIAACC?
NATSIAACC evolved from the National Advisory Groups for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care which was set up in 2018. NATSIAACC has been founded as an independent voice. Its members are made up of ageing and aged care providers, and organisations with an interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led care who support NATSIAAC’s objectives.
The chairperson is Jill Gallagher, who is the CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, and has dedicated her life to advocating for self-determination outcomes for First Nations people. The board of directors is made up of, of course, our very own Graham Aitken. As well as CEO of South West Aboriginal Medical Services Lesley Nelson, CEO of Booroongen Djugen Gary Morris, CEO of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane Jodie Currie, and CEO of Karadi Aboriginal Corporation Rachel Dunn.
Why do we need a peak body for Aboriginal Aged Care?
Aged care is one of the only areas where Closing the Gap targets have not been set. To truly respect our Elders ‘past, present and emerging’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders should be empowered to plan and run ageing and aged care services nationally. The community controlled sector has shown how this approach can deliver transformative outcomes.
It is clear from data that the care needs of Elders are higher that the equivalent of non-Indigenous people, and that there are structural barriers that are stopping Elders from accessing and receiving the care they need. On average, 26% of eligible non Indigenous people receive aged care, but only 16% of eligible Elders receive aged care. It is also estimated that 43% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages receive healthcare from Indigenous-controlled providers, but of the Elders receiving aged care, just 23% are supported by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led provider. This shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples needing aged care have less ability to choose Indigenous-community-controlled care.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, established in 2018, recommended the need for a cultural rebuild of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged care, and found that the number of First Nations people eligible for aged care will increase rapidly, and is among the fastest growing cohorts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They found that the aged care system, in its current form, does not ensure culturally safe care for Elders.
How will NATSIAACC change the way you receive care?
Listed below are NATSIAACC’S core objectives:
- To develop ageing and aged care policies, and manage programs and processes, which respond effectively to the needs of Elders, and facilitate access and participation at equitable rates for the Elder population
- Advocate for improvements in the ageing and aged care sector which will benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander providers and Elders
- Be a council of excellence in the provision of ageing and aged care services by providing leadership, best practice and conducting research
- Provide education, training and other services to support and assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led providers and other organisations which deliver services to Elders
- Develop partnerships and relationships within the ageing and aged care sector to improve the quality, availability and suitability of ageing and aged care services for Elders
- Collect data and participate, collaborate and lead research that seeks to create efficiencies and other benefits to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander providers for the benefit of the community, and improve availability and suitability of ageing and aged care services for the community
Click here to find out more about this new peak body!