Vision 2020 Australia welcomes the important recommendations made in the recently tabled Senate Committee report on the future of the aged care workforce.
The Inquiry, Chaired by Senator Rachel Siewert, investigated issues facing the aged care industry, finding Australia needs a strategy to improve, grow and support the workforce to meet demand as the population ages.
Vision 2020 Australia made a submission into the Inquiry, with a number of recommendations aligning with the Senate Committee report, including the need for:
- a government advisory committee comprised of consumer representatives, service providers and departmental staff
- a culturally competent and inclusive aged care workforce
- a workforce that can meet the increasingly complex needs of the ageing population
- training and resources to support the transition to a consumer-directed care model.
Vision 2020 Australia, joined by Guide Dogs Australia and Blind Citizens Australia, also spoke at the Inquiry’s public hearings about greater utilisation and integration of allied health professionals to meet the needs of blind or vision impaired Australians, which was acknowledged in the Senate Committee report.
Carla Northam, CEO of Vision 2020 Australia, says: ‘This report is an important document and we particularly welcome the Senate Committee’s recommendation to create an aged care workforce strategy to meet the more complex needs of older Australians.
‘The aged care workforce must also be equipped to support the individual needs of people with disability. We especially need a plan for future workforce growth in the blindness and vision impairment sector, given the growing disparity between demand and supply of services.’
Of the estimated 453,000 people living with blindness or vision impairment across Australia, the majority of these are aged over 65 years. This figure is expected to grow with the ageing population as the prevalence of vision impairment and blindness doubles each decade over 60.
The 2015 Snapshot of Blindness and Low Vision Services Survey found the lack of Government recognition and investment to address blindness and vision impairment as an issue predominately affecting older Australians is of significant concern to the sector.
Ms Northam says: ‘Ensuring access to funded, specialist blindness and vision impairment services for older Australians is a crucial aspect of improving the quality of the aged care workforce and ensuring equitable access to the appropriate services and supports.
‘Vision 2020 Australia calls on the Government to work with the disability and aged care sectors not only as it considers the implementation of these 19 recommendations, but in all ongoing reviews into aged care.’
For more information: Adam Sawell at Vision 2020 Australia
03 9656 2020, 0401 096 507 or email@example.com
About Vision 2020 Australia
As the national peak body for the eye health and vision care sector, Vision 2020 Australia represents around 50 member organisations involved in local and global eye care, health promotion, low vision support, vision rehabilitation, eye research, professional assistance, and community support. Established in October 2000, Vision 2020 Australia is part of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a global initiative of the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.