Aged Care Symposium looks to future

Aged Care Symposium looks to future

30 Nov 2010

A symposium discussing the future for rural aged care services was held recently at the Albury-Wodonga campus of La Trobe University, facilitated by the John Richards Initiative, the University’s rural aged care research unit. 

JRISymposium_std The day-long program included keynote speakers and a panel forum with local aged care experts.

The Symposium explored contemporary challenges associated with the current and future provision of formal and informal care in rural Australia.

A broad range of agencies and service providers interested in the delivery of health and aged care services in rural areas attended the Symposium.

'The Symposium was timely as the Productivity Commission has recently begun a public inquiry into reform of the aged care system which, of course, has implications for rural service provision,' said Professor Jeni Warburton, Chair of the John Richard’s Initiative.

'While there are some very innovative and effective services delivered in the region, generally there are significant challenges associated with delivering aged care services in regional Australia. These include the economies of scale and population density issues associated with service delivery in rural areas.'

One of the keynote speakers was Professor Jane Farmer, Director of La Trobe’s multi-campus Rural Health School and an international expert in the area of rural healthcare provision.  Her keynote address focused on the delivery of healthcare in partnership with rural communities, drawing on a large international research study.   

'I think one of the big demands is that it needs people of all generations to work on this issue about older people – because it is about the future of rural communities and it’s everybody’s issue,’ said Professor Farmer.

Mr Greg Mundy, CEO, Aged & Community Services Australia, provided a more “local” Australian view of aged and community care services, as well as presenting some key contemporary issues and challenges in the rural context.

'There are some issues with the current aged-care service provision model in terms of guaranteeing the level of supply of aged care services that we need for an ageing population – so that people can access services, as well as giving older people choice, and putting the whole system on a sustainable footing, which really needs to happen urgently,' he said.

Professor Warburton chaired a panel discussion involving local aged care experts across the sector. The panel led a discussion with the floor exploring local problems and solutions facing the region’s health and aged care services.

'We were delighted with the positive feedback from the Symposium participants. One of the key functions of The John Richards Initiative is to provide leadership in research into aged care in rural areas. The Symposium has generated interesting and important discussion among local agencies and service providers around critical contemporary issues associated with aged care – and the Symposium certainly achieved its aims,' stated Professor Warburton.

For further information on the Symposium outcomes and research projects of the John Richards Initiative, please contact staff at the JRI via f.jones@latrobe.edu.au

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