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More needs to be done for Forgotten Australians in aged care

More than 500,000 older Australians are not being served properly by the aged care sector.

That is the approximate number of Forgotten Australians, people who at one point in their life were placed in institutional or out-of-home care as children and therefore need safer and more personalised aged care.

“Thanks to ongoing advocacy from the Forgotten Australians we know that their childhood experiences in orphanages, missions or homes run by Government, charities, religious groups and other organisations, were marked by neglect, abuse and human rights violations,” says Dr Monica Cations form Flinders University.

Cations is the lead author of the collaborative research study on this cohort, titled Safe and Inclusive Aged Care for Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers.

Returning to institutionalised care facilities later in life can be re-traumatising and the research found that common aged care practices can be insensitive to the needs and preferences of Forgotten Australians.

Cations’ research has led to a number of recommendations that providers can implement to improve aged care and she joined Aged Care Insite to discuss the work.

The 10 immediate actions can be found here.

AgedCareInsite · Dr Monica Cations || Forgotten Australians in aged care

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4 comments

  1. Interesting points, many of which should already be the way things are managed in residential aged care for all residents, especially following the introduction of the Aged Care Standards, 01 July 2019, which are all about consumer focused care. I am interested in point 5 which says to rename homes or units within homes the same as the orphanages, missions etc. The article says that many “were marked by neglect, abuse and human rights violations”, so for me, not a psychologist, I would be concerned that the name would bring back past traumas of such neglect, abuse or human rights violations.

    • Hi Claire
      I read your comments with interest. As a person who identifies as a Forgotten Australian, going into a residential facility that not only had the same or similar name as the orphanage I spent years in – would certainly trigger a lot of negative emotions for me. It is not only the name, but many facilities that are run by a religious ethos – also have religious iconography – and this also would be quite distressing for many Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers who spent time in religious/charitable institutions.

  2. The aged care residents who are facing neglect and abuse should be treated with respect and dignity, and organizations should consider eight aged care standards and provide safe and quality care to the residents.

    • Hi Navroop
      The Aged Care Standards unfortunately do not cover mandatory training by all aged care staff in Trauma. An understanding of trauma is critical to understand the history and experiences of Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers. Providing respect and dignity should be the mainstay of all care to all people but real person centred care is based on an understanding of who they are and what their specific support needs are based on those experiences. Trauma Informed Care Training needs to be mandatory for all aged care providers and particularly staff working with this cohort who have complex needs.

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