News & Events

OCAV taking the lead in aged care services and retirement living

December 9, 2019

OCAV has taken its seat at the table this year, making submissions to all key inquiries and advocating for residents during State and Federal election campaigns. It has been an important year for the aged care sector in light of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Our submission to the Royal Commission called for changes to aged care funding to drive best practice and to plan better for the future. The submission highlighted that aged care facilities are becoming more like hospitals every day, and funding needs to take account of this reality.

OCAV’s CEO Phillip Wohlers, said that the Commission’s recent interim report, Neglect, highlighted that OCAV is ahead of the trend in providing training for our staff, health and wellbeing programs which are meaningful for our residents, communication with families and friends, services such as palliative care, dementia care and falls and balance, and our co-design nutrition program. But he cautioned against complacency.

“In all our programs, we put our residents first: we deliberately do not use the word consumer as it implies a transactional relationship rather than a collaborative partnership. It is for this reason that we do not agree with mandated ratios. Our argument is that person-centric aged care always puts the needs of every resident first, and puts in appropriate nursing and care for every resident,” he said.

OCAV also made a submission to the Royal Commission into Mental Health Systems, urging the Commission to consider older people, carers of older people, and the effect of homelessness as part of its submission into the terms of reference. OCAV called for the National Disability
Insurance Scheme to include people over 60 to ensure they do not miss out on essential services previously funded through the Victorian health system.

Our submission also highlighted the need for funding social mental health issues – current funding is skewed to treatment.

OCAV’s submissions to the Men’s Health Strategy and Women’s Health Strategy congratulated the government on moves to align Medicare Benefit Schedule fees and primary care with older Australians’ needs, and to apply a gender equity lens to women’s health. However, we raised concern about the lack of detail around elder abuse and the growing incidence of older women’s homelessness.

OCAV’s submission into the Victorian Government Inquiry into Homelessness is hot off the press.  OCAV is well placed to advocate for ageing Victorians who need safe secure housing, given its operating model that was established by its original founders 150 years ago.

“We are committed to providing approximately 50 per cent of our housing to residents who cannot afford to contribute a one-off, means-tested donation on entry,” said CEO Phillip Wohlers. “The model is made possible through a mixture of philanthropic support, means-tested donations on entry from residents who can afford it, and the affordable monthly fees.”

“Through the model, all residents are able to access all levels of care as part of OCAV’s continuum of care. These arrangements provide a great deal of peace of mind for residents and their family members, particularly given the complexity of ownership structures and fees of other retirement villages and some instances of unfair practices.”

“Even though the Federal Government residential care subsidy is received for each resident at Liscombe House, its Leith Park aged care facility, OCAV receives no government funding for residents in independent and assisted living.”

Over the past year OCAV has also met with politicians and Victorian Commissioners about our work, operating model and commitment to providing safe, affordable housing for older Victorians. These meetings follow on from the successful launch of Living Communities Age Well at Parliament House in June 2018.

Many of these issues are canvassed in our 2019 annual report.

Josephine Katite may be a long way from Kenya, where she was born and lived until 2005 but the experience of looking after her elderly grandparents is very much with her every day in her work at Liscombe House.

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