Reforms overlook allied health

The aged care reforms are overly focused on the delivery of nursing care with not enough consideration given to allied health care, said an industry expert.

The aged care reforms are overly focused on the delivery of nursing care with not enough consideration given to allied health care, said an industry expert.

Bryan Lipmann

“I think the royal commission did focus too much on nursing care as though it is the be-all and end-all,” Bryan Lipmann – chief executive officer and founder of Wintringham – told Community Care Review. “It’s not. It’s a vital part – but it’s only a part.”  

Wintringham – a Victoria-based not-for-profit specialist aged care provider working with elderly homeless people – provides a psychosocial model of care, which involves teams of ancillary workers, such as counsellors and recreational activities officers.  

The current funding model fails to sufficiently recognise such workers, said Mr Lipmann. “The requirement to meet all the care minutes and the high nursing rates need to take account of different skill sets – allied health is a perfect example.”

While Wintringham employs hundreds of nurses, Mr Lipmann said “they are only part of a process of winning the trust of people so that they will accept care.”

CCR spoke to Mr Lipmann during the Aged & Community Care Reform conference – a two-day online event hosted by advocacy group Council on the Ageing Australia.

Mr Lipmann was participating in a panel discussion on the aged care reform agenda. Discussing the challenges of that agenda, Mr Lipmann singled out regulation. “The desperate need to catch the bad operators is swamping the good operators with regulation – and that’s extremely difficult for a lot of organisations to meet.”

On the upside, Mr Lipmann told CCR he was very pleased the government acted on the royal commission’s recommendation that “diversity should be core business in aged care”.

“When I started at Wintringham 35 years ago, the thought that diverse communities would be a key part of an aged care strategy would be ridiculous – it was never considered,” he said. “To have a committee that advises the minister on LGBTI, on homeless, on Aboriginal issues, on [culturally and linguistically diverse issues] is an innovation. And that is something to be applauded.”

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Tags: allied health, bryan lipmann, reforms, wintringham,

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