Advocacy services

11.277         The National Aged Care Advocacy Programme (NACAP) provides assistance to people receiving Australian Government-funded residential care and home care.[300] The NACAP was reviewed in 2015, and there are plans to redesign the aged care advocacy system.[301] Consultation on a draft National Aged Care Advocacy Framework closed on 7 October 2016.[302]

11.278         The ALRC does not propose any changes to aged care advocacy services. However, submissions to the Inquiry highlighted the importance of an effective system of funded advocacy in providing safeguards for older people. For example, the Office of the Public Advocate (Vic) argued that advocacy services were ‘essential to protecting the rights of older people in care. This is particularly important when moving to a consumer directed model of care to enable consumers to get the full benefit of such a system’.[303]

11.279         Stakeholders also pointed out that the effectiveness of advocacy services relied on their independence and accessibility. Accessibility for those with cognitive impairment as well as those who may be isolated or physically frail are key challenges that must be addressed to ensure that advocacy operates as a safeguard for older people. A number of submissions also emphasised the importance of ensuring that advocacy services should be inclusive to all older people receiving aged care, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; culturally and linguistically diverse; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.[304]