Last week, Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania (MRC Tas) shared a post in celebration of Seniors Week and the services being provided by the EnCOMPASS program to enhance the support offered to CALD community members.
But Seniors Week does not stop here, and there is more important work being done in this space. The Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) program is aimed at service providers, helping them to deliver culturally appropriate care to older people from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background. Throughout Tasmania, PICAC works towards a safe and inclusive aged care system where all people can access the support that they need.
Since 1997, the PICAC program has been delivered to every state and territory across Australia, and MRC Tas is immensely proud to deliver the program in Tasmania. The PICAC program envisages an aged care system that is inclusive of all individuals, regardless of their background, diverse characteristics or life experiences. It aligns strongly with MRC Tasmania’s own visions and values, where diversity is celebrated, and all community members are valued. Safe, inclusive aged care prioritises the individual needs of the person. CALD Australians come from a wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and aged care services are stronger when they respect the diversity of Tasmania’s CALD society.
The PICAC Alliance can:
- Support aged care providers to deliver culturally-appropriate care to seniors from diverse communities (by identifying knowledge gaps, conducting research, offering training and translated resources);
- Help seniors from diverse backgrounds and their families make informed decisions about their aged care needs;
- Engage and advise government and peak organisations at a national, regional and local level.
MRC Tas is excited to introduce Geraldine Flynn, Tasmania’s very own PICAC officer! Geraldine is based at the MRC Tas Glenorchy office. For Geraldine, joining the PICAC alliance offers an opportunity to celebrate and promote understanding of Tasmania’s diverse population. “The most important thing I can do in my PICAC role is raise awareness of this diversity, and help services provide culturally-appropriate care to meet the needs (social, cultural, linguistic, spiritual), of our diverse community as they age.”
Friendship, the theme of this year’s Seniors Week, plays an important role in the values and mission of PICAC. “I define friendship as being a strong relationship based on values of mutual respect, trust, understanding and encouragement. I would like to see a future where seniors from diverse backgrounds can feel safe in the knowledge that their service providers share these values,” Geraldine explains.
Along with promoting these values, Geraldine sees the PICAC alliance as a driving force in “ensuring that the wellbeing of diverse elderly Australians is prioritised in providers’ daily practice, that diversity and inclusion is embedded in policy and procedure, and that peak industry organisations and governments are made aware of the challenges and barriers experienced by diverse older people in accessing services and support.”
Geraldine recognises the unique barriers that many older people from CALD backgrounds face when it comes to accessing support, and notes that the aged care sector needs to better integrate the Aged Care Diversity Framework into their services. “Making this happen needs to be a collective effort, ensuring that clients and service providers are co-designers in service planning and delivery.”
Knowledge and awareness are key when it comes to better support for older people from CALD backgrounds. It is essential that aged care providers respect the cultural, linguistic, religious and spiritual needs of each individual. Care should be responsive to medical or emotional requirements and should acknowledge identity and be respectful of the diverse community of which the client is a part. For other service providers, it is immensely important to ensure support is inclusive and culturally appropriate. Not only to meet their obligations as a service, but also because every person deserves to receive healthy outcomes. Caring for older people from CALD backgrounds reflects the spirit of community and consideration that is such an important feature of Tasmanian society.
Service providers should feel empowered to deliver these services and to embed the Aged Care Diversity Framework into their policies and practices. PICAC is there to support them in this. For further information, please visit: https://mrctas.org.au/aged-care/.
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