New report: Financial advocacy officers making an impact
OPAN’s annual report for the 2021-2022 financial year highlights the work of our national network of aged care advocates as well as key projects we have developed to inform and empower older people and address gaps in support.
‘We are particularly pleased with the impact that the financial advocacy officers are already having,’ OPAN Chairperson Mary Anne Hunt and OPAN CEO Craig Gear said in a joint statement.
Recruited under the Home Care and Aged Care Cost Education Project, the financial advocacy officers aim to ensure ‘older people have a fair and equitable approach to the fees and charges surrounding their aged care,’ they said.
Still in its early stages, the project has already achieved significant results. OPAN’s annual report details the case of an older person whose residential aged care debt of $12,000 was resolved with the support of a Financial Advocacy Officer.
Home Care Check-in Project
The pilot of the Home Care Check-in Project is having similar positive outcomes for isolated older people who are at risk of harm or neglect because they are reliant on one provider or carer.
One older person was referred to the project after losing their long-term partner.
An advocate connected the older person with a community volunteer and helped them to explore ways to increase their social connections.
As a result, the older person now has a wider support system and has spoken about their improved quality of life.
‘The pilot of the Home Care Check-in Project highlights the need for us to work as a village to enable older people to continue to exercise their right to live independently with the support they need to keep them safe and connected,’ said Ms Hunt and Mr Gear.
Other projects include the Advocacy Community Network Development which aims to develop local networks and raise awareness of aged care advocacy.
Across the network
In the past year, OPAN’s national network of nine member organisations has continued to support older people around the country, achieving an 18% increase on information and individual advocacy cases from 2020-21.
Find more information about OPAN’s ongoing projects and advocacy by reading the full report.