Home' Community Care Review : CCR Jan Feb 2016 Contents SPONSORED FEATURE
ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S QUEENSLAND
Since Alzheimer’s Queensland (AQ) was founded in 1983 the
organisation has developed and grown to become the largest
Alzheimer’s association in Australia, employing over 400 staff .
The organisation develops and delivers innovative programs
that promote wellbeing and independence. Its clients benefit
from a flexible range of services that spans from state-wide
education and information to direct care and support.
A collaborative operational partnership with Byron
Aged Care, a not-for-profit provider based in NSW, has
dramatically expanded AQ’s operational footprint, enabling
it to provide services along the Queensland south coast
from Upper Mount Gravatt through to Northern NSW.
AQ provides an extensive range of services including:
• Dementia care hub
• Aged care homes
• Community multiservice centres
• Retirement village
• Community care and support
• Respite care
• Social and recreational programs
• Carer support
• Dementia advice line
• Rehab and allied health programs
• A Registered Training Organisation
• A national dementia care consultancy
• A dementia design consultancy
• Specialist library
For more information, go to www.alzheimersonline.org or
phone 1800 639 331. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
ENABLEMENT, ALLIED HEALTH FOCUS
One important aspect of AQ’s services, and a distinct advantage for
its community clients and aged care home residents in particular, is
the strong allied health component that has been built in.
The organisation employs allied health staff including
occupational therapists, speech pathologists, physiotherapists, art
therapists, music therapists and recreational therapists.
“Our allied health skill set ensures a holistic approach with
clients where we focus on their abilities, their strengths and apply
an enabling approach,” says McNally.
In keeping with the client-directed ethos underpinning AQ’s
services, clients and residents decide their own health goals and
decide on how they want to achieve them – with the support of the
allied health and aged care staff.
Across its Multi-Service Centres and community care, the
focus on wellness and enablement continues, underpinning
the philosophy around keeping clients connected to their local
communities and activities.
“Wellness and enablement is central to our model of care as it
helps people remain at home for longer, therefore delaying transition
into permanent residential care,” says Buys. “It also helps with
continued socialisation, sustained independence within a valued role,
and improved fitness and balance resulting in mobility stabilisation.”
“From our observations, physical activity and positive
experiences for people with dementia improves mood and reduces
rates of depression, and may delay cognitive decline,” says Buys.
LEADERSHIP ROLE IN SECTOR
More broadly, AQ believes that as both a peak body and a provider
of services, it has an important role to play in the broader sector –
particularly during this time of reform, where aged care becomes
“We practice what we preach,” says McNally. “As a peak body,
our information is based on experience. This firsthand experience
from our clients and carers, coupled with the research we support,
means we can lead by example. We can show people how to achieve
the ideal with regards to person-centred, empowering care that is
possible within the funding available.”
AQ is demonstrating to fellow providers that client-driven programs
can be delivered against the backdrop of aged care reform, he says.
“Our approach means we are often the service of choice for many
providers who seek out and value our expertise and input.”
This is evidenced in the uptake of AQ’s registered training
organisation which delivers tailored in-house training to meet the
needs of clients and staff.
Likewise, AQ’s two national dementia consultancies – in care
and design - are highly sought after for their expertise and are
undertaking a range of projects for other services.
Internally, the organisation has a strong emphasis on utilising
the latest dementia design, which is led by its dedicated aged care
specialist interior designer.
AQ’s 24-hour dementia advice line, manned by professional staff
rather than volunteers, has similarly been embraced as an excellent
resource for carers, especially during the recent reforms. The staff
provides a range of information - from guidance on navigating the
aged care system, to extensive dementia management advice.
MEETING REFORM CHALLENGES
Like many of its fellow providers, AQ says it is working hard to meet
the challenges that the current aged care reforms are presenting.
While the government has implemented
a system that aims to be more responsive
and flexible to the needs of older people,
in reality the downside is that the current
generation of seniors often struggles to
navigate the new system.
“Older people often don’t have the
resources to navigate the system and
often don’t ask for help. As a result, we’re
finding that currently the new system is
adding to consumer stress, when there
are already considerable demands on the
carer,” says McNally.
However, overall, he is confident that the
reforms when rolled out fully will increase
competition and lead to enhanced quality
and innovation across the sector. “These
changes are a key step in moving to a less
regulated, more consumer-driven and
market-based aged care system,” he says.
And for AQ, its commitment to quality
improvement, close partnerships with
other service providers, and an excellent
understanding of client needs will enable it
to excel in the new market, says McNally. n
* names have been changed
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