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]

[300]       Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) div 81. Advocacy is also available for those receiving aged care through the CHSP: Australian Healthcare Associates, Department of Social Services  Review of Commonwealth Aged Care Advocacy Services Final Report (2015) 15.

[301]       Australian Healthcare Associates, above n 301, 17.

[302]       Department of Health (Cth), Consultation on the Draft National Aged Care Advocacy Framework <www.consultations.health.gov.au>.

[303]       Office of the Public Advocate (Vic), Submission 95. See also ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service, Submission 139; Australian College of Nursing, Submission 147; Office of the Public Advocate (Qld), Submission 149.

[304]       See, eg GLBTI Rights in Ageing Institute, Submission 132; Older Persons Advocacy Network, Submission 43; Alice’s Garage, Submission 36.