Royal Commission

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found many people who come from diverse backgrounds and have had varied life experiences have problems accessing aged care services that meet their particular needs.

This includes people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Existing System

The Commission found that existing aged care system is not well equipped to provide care that is non-discriminatory and appropriate for people’s identity and experience. They heard about aged care providers that do not provide culturally safe care, that is, care that acknowledges, respects and values people’s diverse needs. Across the aged care system, staff are often poorly trained in culturally safe practices, with little understanding of the additional needs of people from diverse backgrounds.

The Australian Department of Health is conducting a review of the Australian Government–funded aged care services and programs for older and prematurely aged people, who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

The Department has commissioned research to assist with the review supported by a team of academic experts from the Universities of Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia.

Australians Experiencing Homelessness

The review will analyse the diverse aged care needs for older and prematurely aged Australians experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness, now and into the future; and the effectiveness of current services and programs against the context of other Commonwealth, State and Territory and community support.

The aim of the review is to develop evidence based options for government to consider, including potential ways to improve:

• access to aged care services by older and prematurely aged people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness;

• alignment between aged care needs, funding and service delivery; and

• connections between aged care services and other Commonwealth, State and Territory and community services including housing, disability, prisons, mental health and primary health.

Shelter WA will work with the national Shelter Network and our members on the issues and opportunities highlighted in the report in relation to aged care options for people who experience homelessness. Also we will monitor the outcome of the review findings.

You can read the report here.