In my experience, each person has their personal views. I am no expert in the area. However, it is a subject I frequently bring up with aged care providers because getting this right often increases the success of the transition into aged care.
My conversation with aged care providers is focused on understanding how management approaches the cultural, spiritual and social needs of people living in the home. While diversity in aged care has previously gone under the radar, much-needed change is afoot.
In October 2019, the Royal Commission held a public hearing in Melbourne on the aged care needs of people who have diverse backgrounds, experiences and characteristics. In July 2019, new quality standards were implemented in the aged care sector. The first standard addresses identity, culture and diversity, and notes: “consumer dignity and choice”.
Within this context, I wanted to capture what diversity in aged care homes can look like when implemented. I spoke with Michael Giugni, general manager, facility manager and business manager of aged-care homes, who shared his experience and personal views.
“For me, it is about having the awareness that people have different needs and having the willingness to meet those needs. We do not receive any history on the person seeking to transition into the home. Therefore, I ask a lot of questions,” he explained.
The fact Michael grew up in Canberra has proven to be helpful in his process.
“I tend to know or recognise a lot of people, or I know a friend of a friend,” he said.
Michael and his team seek to find out as much as they can from the person moving into aged care, their family and social/person network. This is important because it is how he and his team piece together relevant services to meet a person's needs.
For example, Michael always asks about any connections to clubs or community groups. From there, if possible, the aged care team will organise for volunteers to come in or organise transport to go to the club. Importantly, it’s about being proactive.
Having a supportive, multicultural workforce is also beneficial.
“We have a multicultural workforce, which helps connect and communicate with people living in the home who share the same language, faith or culture,” he said.
Diversity in aged care should be appropriate, accessible and sensitive. For this to be achieved, a holistic approach is necessary throughout the aged care experience. Like Michael, I am keen to see diversity in aged care continue to evolve for the better.
Written by Luisa Capezio, Aged Care Advice, www.phillipswp.com.au