Report Back from the Department of Health LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy Working Group

This working group was established by the Department of Social Services, and has now transferred to the Department of Health. The role of the Working Group is to advise and guide the Department of Health on the implementation of specific goals and actions and the setting of future priority actions within the National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy (the Strategy). The Working Group will also provide a platform for members to openly discuss key issues and concerns within the sector, and provide an opportunity to showcase good news stories of achievements to date.

The current members of the Working Group are:

  • Samantha Edmonds, National LGBTI Health Alliance
  • Dr Catherine Barrett, Tea Cosy Project, OPAL Institute and Alice’s Garage
  • Corey Irlam, COTA Australia
  • Sarah Walbank, Carers Australia
  • Melanie Dicks, Uniting
  • Laura Sweeney, Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Duane Letson, CareConnect
  • June Lowe/Jacqui Tibbits, GLBTI Rights in Ageing (GRAI)

The last meeting of the Working Group was held on 13 September 2016. The key discussions and actions from this meeting are:

  • The work the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner is doing to ensure that their services are LGBTI inclusive so that LGBTI people access the aged care complaints process when they need it.
  • Information on My Health Record. The important thing to notes is that privacy settings can be applied to all information within your record allowing who you approve to access key pieces of health information. However, there is a “break the glass” or override process if you are taken to emergency and you are unconscious or unable to provide your consent.
    • Advance Care Plans, the person you have nominated as your ‘voice’ as well as the people or persons that you have shared your Advance Care Plan with can be included within your record.
  • Discussion on the new Quality Framework and Aged Care Standards. A consultation process will be announced later in the year.
  • LGBTI research and data sets have been an ongoing focus for the Working Group, especially around wording used and questions asked about being L, G, B, T or I. An agreed outcome is a Roundtable later in the year with the key data collection agencies to discuss the changes that are needed to data collection processes.
  • We also started to discuss what type of document we want after the end of the LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy in June 2017. We have had initial discussions with the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils Australia, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Australian Association of Gerontology and the Australian Human Rights Commission as well as DoH) about developing a Diversity Framework with high level principles and actions that cut across all diversity groups with specific Strategies or Action Plans sitting underneath that address the key needs and issues that different groups face (e.g. an LGBTI Action Plan, CALD Action Plan, ATSI Action Plan etc.)
  • We also agreed to DoH taking immediate action on communicating about the Strategy both externally and internally.
  • Focusing on the Priorities for Action in the last 9 months of the Strategy. These are:
    • 2 In consultation with LGBTI communities, ensure the Gateway [now MyAgedCare] uses clear, visible indicators to identify aged care, respite and carer support services with specific expertise/interest in meeting the needs of LGBTI people. This will enable consumers to readily identify LGBTI inclusive aged care providers; and for aged care assessors or case managers to refer prospective clients efficiently and appropriately.
    • 3 Use LGBTI-inclusive language and representation when developing new resources and reviewing existing resources. This will include developing a best practice intake and assessment form with accompanying procedures to help ensure it is culturally appropriate for LGBTI clients.  These changes will be reflected in the aged care client record (ACCR).
    • 3Increase awareness and understanding of advance care planning (ACP) among LGBTI people, their families and carers
    • 5 Continue to support and evaluate innovative programmes, projects and services addressing the goals of this Strategy and identified emerging issues, including through the Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants Fund or any similar fund.
    • 1 Recognise members of all the Special Needs groups identified in the Quality of Care Principles 1997 [now in the Aged Care Act 1997], including LGBTI people, by specifically including them in the Accreditation Standards, Community Care Common Standards and Flexible Care Standards. Support the aged care sector in understanding how LGBTI people fit within these accreditation frameworks.
    • 3 Investigate and pursue options to increase LGBTI resources in accredited training competencies. This includes the vocational education and training (VET) sector and the tertiary education sector – in particular qualifications in aged care, home and community care, allied health, nursing, general practice and any relevant qualification related to aged care.
    • 2Engage with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to include LGBTI indicators in the Australian Census and the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC). Encourage the inclusion of LGBTI indicators within all ageing-related research projects.

We will be having another meeting later in 2016. If you have any comments or questions please contact Samantha Edmonds,