Co-design and future proofing were the key themes of the 2015 LASA National Congress in Melbourne last week. iCareHealth joined around 1000 attendees to witness presentations and panel discussions on topics such as sector reform, the introduction of national quality indicators, and the My Aged Care gateway. In part one of our wrap-up of the event, we highlight some key messages that can help aged care providers strengthen their organisation.
With the theme Co-design: Tomorrow’s Aged Services, one of the key sessions of the conference was from thinkpublic Founder, Deborah Szebeko. Ms Szebeko explained that her organisation focusses on co-design, and believes in a collaborative approach to design that addresses social challenges. As an example of co-design, Ms Szebeko spoke about a project that addressed two key social issues facing the community: a general lack of exercise and the need to reduce loneliness in older people who are isolated. Through extensive research and discussions, thinkpublic helped to form Good Gym, a project that asks volunteers to integrate short visits to older people into their running routes and exercise routines. In addition, the volunteers can deliver useful items, such as groceries, for people with limited mobility. Ms Szebeko explained that co-design begins with having a collaborative, design-led approach to identify, design, prototype and launch new services and products. By using co-design principles, aged care services can discover out-of-the-box solutions to common aged care problems.
As Branch Manager of the Quality and Regulatory Policy Branch for the Department of Social Services, Michael Culhane provided an update to delegates on the national quality indicator program. The program aims to create a single quality framework for the home care and residential aged care sector, which Mr Culhane hopes will take quality beyond the framework of accreditation. Having just completed a six month pilot study involving almost 300 aged care facilities, Mr Culhane stated that the feedback they have received thus far has been ‘broadly positive’. The Department of Social Services believes that quality is essential to provider survival, and explained that the quality indicators must have quantifiable measures in order to be successful. With an initial focus on residential aged care, the first three indicators will be on pressure injuries, unplanned weight loss and physical restraint. The quality indicator program will be rolled out in a staged approach, with Mr Culhane explaining that the Department of Social Services hopes to have a large proportion of the residential aged care sector participating in the program by April 2016.
Interested to learn more? Read part two of our LASA National Congress wrap-up for a look at sector reform, effective governance and an update on the My Aged Care gateway.