Thursday, June 20, 2013

CALDWays – Pathways to Implement, Regional Forum 2013

The CALDWays – Pathways to Implementation, Regional Forum was held on Wednesday, 5 June, at Parramatta in Sydney. The forum was organized by the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawara and focused on promoting The National Ageing and Aged Care Strategy for people from Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background. The strategy was launched in December 2012 by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and includes six key goals:

  • CALD input positively affects the development of ageing and aged care policies and programs that are appropriate and responsive.
  •  Achieve a level of knowledge, systems capacity and confidence that enables older people from CALD backgrounds, their families and carers to exercise informed choice in aged care.
  • Older people from CALD backgrounds are able and have the confidence to access and use the full range of ageing and aged care services.
  •  Monitor and evaluate the delivery of ageing and aged care services to ensure that they meet the care needs of older people from CALD backgrounds, their families and carers.
  • Enhance the CALD sector’s capacity to provide ageing and aged care services.
  • Achieve better practice through improving research and data collection mechanisms that are inclusive of cultural and linguistic diversity in the ageing population. 

The strategy is designed to act as a living document that will assist in setting annual priorities in conjunction with key stakeholders to achieve its goals. DoHA will report annually on its progress. In the broader context, this strategy forms part of the Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package.

Community organisations from NSW and the ACT were invited to talk about how their organisations were currently working to implement the goals of the Strategy. As Multicultural Liaison Officer in the Health Infrastructure Program (HIP) team, Yelin spoke about the two action areas of Goal 3 that have been the focus for HCCA:

3.2 - Address the barriers that can reduce the capacity of older people from CALD backgrounds, their families and carers to access aged care services and to receive appropriate care, in specific planning and allocation processes.
3.5 - Promote the availability of language services, to CALD communities and recipients of aged care.

Yelin emphasized the HIP consumer consultations, which are actively supporting CALD groups to access to health services as well as encouraging a greater uptake of translation and interpreter services.

Yelin delivering the HCCA presentation.

As one of the most diverse countries in the world, Australia is in desperate need of The CALD Aged Care Strategy .  It is estimated that around 20 per cent of people from CALD backgrounds are aged 65 years and over. By 2021, it is expected that more than 30 per cent of older Australians will have been born overseas. Senator Matthew Thistlethwaite argued that Australia has built its economic capacity, identity and diversity through its immigrants. Therefore, it is essential for the Government to create effective strategies, infrastructure and training as well as promote cultural awareness in order to deliver high quality care services to older Australians with CALD backgrounds.

One of the issues being addressed by the Strategy is dementia. Dementia is currently the third leading cause of death in Australia. Unfortunately, people who are bilingual tend to forget their second language as their dementia progresses, which can make it difficult to communicate with younger members of their family and carers. The new Strategy will help ensure that care providers deliver services that are responsive to the culture, linguistic and spiritual needs of CALD consumers.
It is also important to recognise that CALD communities are not a uniform group and that their needs vary depending on their culture. Therefore, when developing this Strategy, a range of consumers from different backgrounds were consulted to ensure that it would be able to meet the needs of all groups within the CALD community.
Pino Migliorino, chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA) also spoke at the forum and made some interesting points. He argued that in order for this new strategy to be successfully applied, it would be necessary to have strong leadership and strong advocates for CALD communities. The community sector needs to move ahead and take on a leading role in advocating for the needs of CALD older people. Mr Migliorino also said that most older Australians born overseas do not provide feedback on the health system or care providers because they think their contribution will not make a difference. This has meant that CALD communities tend to be underrepresented in consumer consultations on health policy.

Sandra at the HCCA stall.
HCCA would like to congratulate Yelin and Sandra for putting together a fantastic presentation and information stall at the forum.

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