Community groups should appoint delegates to form a central organisation to coordinate and support local aged care hubs.
Their roles would be to:
- represent the community on aged care committees including complaints, accreditation, oversight and sanctions, and the approved provider process,
- collect and evaluate information,
- foster and support research,
- brief government and other agencies,
- disseminate information to the public and to hubs
- visit hubs and get their input,
- report back to community hubs on developments
- advocate for their aged communities and the hubs,
- support and assist local hubs, particularly in their support and advice to potential users of aged care services.
Such an organisation would have representation on central aged care bodies and be involved with government agencies in coordinating information and analysing it. It will be represented in complaints sections, standards sections, in considering sanctions, and very importantly, on the approved provider assessment. Here they will exert strong influence and have the power to block unsuitable organisations.
A primary role would be in the assessment, integration, evaluation and interpretation of information and the use of this in order to promote and support improvements. It would have access to financial information about the sector, including the expenditure by providers in local communities, by multi-site providers, and by different types of provider. It would be interested in how funds were expended across the sector and would use this in advocating for improvements.
They will develop a web site where the track record of individual facilities, provider groups, provider type, geographical area etc. can be examined, compared and graphed.
For example, the USA and UK have far more thorough and sophisticated systems, for collecting information and making it publicly available, than Australia. For an example, look at what a group called Families for better care have achieved.
Community groups in Australia must rely on making FOI applications to extract even the most basic information from the Department.
Coordination and support
The central organisation would coordinate information supplied by the hubs. They would evaluate it, draw conclusions and supply information to the public, the community hubs, the accreditation agency, the providers and government. They would support local hubs and help them to supply the local community with information. They would monitor to ensure that local groups give sound advice when working with potential users of the system.