Jim Paterson, Advocacy Tasmania
National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) services assist both both consumers and service providers to understand their rights and obligations through information and education. The role of an independent Advocate is important to both consumers and/or their representatives to assist them to resolve problems or complaints or to be involved in the decisions underpinning the provision of individualised care services. Through NACAP, Advocacy services educate consumers so that they can advocate on their own behalf, as well as advocate on behalf of consumers who are unable to advocate on their own behalf. This enhances the consumer’s capacity to choose or resolve concerns with the quality and type of aged care they receive and empowering self-determination through informed decision making.
NACAP remains an integral part of the aged care complaints management process in providing freely available and accessible services to all consumers or potential consumers of aged care services, particularly those who, as a result of their care needs, are vulnerable.
NACAP enables older people and their families to have a greater say in the way care is provided to them and to better understand and exercise their consumer rights.
Changes to the aged care system, such as the introduction of consumer directed care, have increased the importance of having a national aged care advocacy program able to support older people and their representatives interact with aged care services.
Consumer Directed Care means consumers will:
- have more say in the care and services they access
- how it is delivered and who delivers it
- have conversations about needs and goals
- work in partnership with the service provider to develop the care plan
- agree to the level of involvement they will have in managing the care package
- have a greater understanding about how the package is funded and how those funds are spent through the individualised budget and monthly income and expense statement
- be provided with ongoing formal reviews to ensure that the package still meets their needs.
Having more power to influence the design and delivery of services, may involve the assistance of an advocate. For many this may be a friend, family member or representative. For others it may involve a referral to an independent advocacy service.