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ACON Welcomes Recognition Of GLBT Aged Care Needs

12 August 2011

Aged Care

NSW's leading gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) health organisation has welcomed recommendations from an independent government advisory body that Australia's aged care system should address the specific needs of GLBT people.

Released on Monday, the Productivity Commission's report into aged care in Australia contains a raft of recommendations to the Federal Government on how to overhaul the sector so it meets future needs.
ACON says it's pleased the Commission has supported ACON's call for a national GLBT ageing strategy and for accreditation standards that ensure GLBT elders receive the same rights to privacy, dignity and culturally appropriate services as all other Australians.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill says the failure of aged care standards and accreditation systems to address the needs of GLBT seniors has left many with doubts about whether they will be treated fairly.

"Research shows that many older GLBT people fear discrimination and insensitive treatment within the aged care system, either from other residents or from aged care service providers," Mr Parkhill says.

"We need a system which guarantees appropriate and sensitive services for all, and we hope the Federal Government will implement the Commission's recommendations in relation to including GLBT requirements in aged care planning and accreditation."

Mr Parkhill says GLBT elders seeking aged care services at the lower end of the market, where religious providers predominate, may have concerns about how they will be treated given the broad anti-discrimination exemptions available to faith-based service providers.

"It's our experience that service providers, including religious providers, are committed to sensitive and non discriminatory service provision. However, given the history of religious organisations' statements on homosexuality, people are understandably anxious about how they will be treated and an explicit mention of our communities in standards and accreditation systems would give them reassurance in seeking services."

Mr Parkhill says ACON is also calling for the new Seniors Gateway website to identify aged care service providers who are trained in GLBT-sensitivity. "ACON would like to see GLBT appropriate services flagged in the same way as are services for other cultural or special needs groups. Such systems and processes are vital in ensuring a smooth and welcoming introduction to the aged care system for GLBT seniors," Mr Parkhill says.

Mr Parkhill says it was disappointing the Commission's report did not address ACON's recommendations regarding the need for better co-ordination between aged care providers and the doctors of clients with HIV, as well as ACON's call for better research into the needs of GLBT people accessing aged care services.

‘In some areas the Commission's recommendations are not as strong as we would have liked. However, we welcome the Commission's clear message that Australia's aged care system has to give GLBT elders a fair go and ensure equitable service provision to all Australians," Mr Parkhill says.



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For more information or to arrange an interview or photo opportunity, please contact us.

Contact: Andrew Hamadanian, Media and Communications Officer, ACON

Tel: (02) 9206 2044  
Mobile: 0419 555 768 

Email: ahamadanian@acon.org.au