Home' Community Care Review : CCR Aug 2016 Contents 'Awaytogo'on
Issues around access to services, exercising choice and navigating the NDIS are
among the challenges that persist for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD)
seniors, ANGELA QUERO tells DARRAGH O'KEEFFE.
For Angela Quero, the discussion about the aged
care issues still facing CALD seniors and their
families is personal.
"My parents were migrants, my mother is ageing," says
Quero, general manager of aged and disability services
with Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre.
"I get it. I know how hard it is for the kids who are faced
with the situation of an ageing parent, and how difficult it
is to get information."
Quero joined Spectrum two years ago, having spent
decades working in aged and community care and
seeing the sector from many perspectives. She has held roles in
government departments, the former accreditation agency and as
an independent consultant.
After a 13-year stint working in occupational health and safety
at the Victorian health department, Quero moved to the former
Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency around the time
accreditation was being introduced to aged care.
Quero "absolutely loved" her role as a compliance and quality
assessor in the agency, she says. "It taught me so much about
the issues related to how to run a great business, how to
provide exceptional care, and the elements of a service that
really stood out."
After a decade working at the agency, Quero went out on her
own as a consultant, assisting organisations with developing
quality and safety systems.
'IT'S AMAZING WHAT WE DO'
Quero describes her role as general manager of aged and
disability services with Spectrum as "one of the most varied jobs
I've ever had."
"It's amazing what we do here," she says of the centre that
provides services to migrants and refugees across the lifespan.
Spectrum runs a large multicultural home support service
employing 160 support workers who collectively speak up to
It provides assistance to CALD seniors who are struggling to
access information and services, says Quero. "Often people know
they need help but don't know where to go. Our access and support
program is designed to ensure we can assist those people to put
them in touch with services that will help them.
"It's working with the client and identifying and addressing the
barriers -- whether they're language, literacy or transport issues,"
Support workers also provide a range of direct services
including personal care and domestic assistance,
transport and social connection, she says.
"Our services mean that older people will be cared for
by people who speak their language and understand their
culture; the bilingual, bicultural aspect of delivering care
is really important," she says.
Spectrum also runs two centre-based respite programs
catering to different ethno-specific groups, seven days a
week. "They have a meal; they do activities, a little bit of
exercise. It's also about education; ensuring our clients
can learn to look after themselves better while they're at home."
NAVIGATING ONGOING ISSUES
For Quero, implementation issues from the Commonwealth Home
Support Program (CHSP) and the National Disability Insurance
Scheme (NDIS) are high on the agenda.
Spectrum has joined with local government and other providers
to run community events to promote awareness of the NDIS among
CALD people with disability and their families, as engagement with
this group has been low, Quero says.
"We try to engage them and let them know the NDIS is coming;
that they need to start thinking about what they want to achieve,
because choice and control is quite an unusual concept for people
from CALD backgrounds," she says.
"In some languages you don't have a goal, it's not something an
individual with a disability can express because they have a very
different concept of disability... In some cultures the person with
a disability is completely disempowered, somebody else makes
decisions for them."
Quero also flags the differing levels of choice available under the
NDIS compared with the aged care system.
People who acquire a disability aged 65 and over are not eligible
for the NDIS, but those under the age cut-off can enter the new
scheme and age within it, she says.
"The benefits under the NDIS for somebody who is older are
clearly much greater... The NDIS has the ability to talk one-on-one
with clients and their family about what kind of supports they need.
"In the home care sector -- either through the CHSP or the
home care packages -- you are limited. The home care package
limits are already in place, and in the CHSP you have no capacity
at this stage to say how you would like those services to be
delivered," she says.
"There's still a bit of a way to go." n
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