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Dignity and Advocacy in Aged Placement

Friday, 9 December 2016

Dignity and Advocacy in Aged Placement

Mater’s Aged Placement Service (MAPS) believes giving clients a voice and maintaining their dignity during the difficult life transition from home to aged care.

Mater at Home Social Worker Cath Black and her team manage not only the physical task of finding the right aged care for clients, but are qualified to assess and make recommendations to ease their emotional stress.

“Sometimes we meet people who are planning ahead when it comes to their aged care placement, but often it’s during a time of crisis,” Ms Black said.

“We value and respect the client’s individuality and make sure they have a voice and maintain their dignity in the process.

“Along the way, families learn how complex the placement process is and the emotional cost is huge – throw in all the paperwork and it can be difficult to navigate,” she said.

Social work within aged care is something Cath has enjoyed working in since graduation many years ago.

“For me it’s far less about placement and more about dignity and support,” Cath said.

“I see the role of social workers in MAPS as ‘change agents’ who provide practical support and are trained to provide emotional support in managing anxiety levels for all those involved.”

The visit can be held in the client’s home or their hospital bed. Some clients and their families plan ahead, allowing them access to more options, however unexpected circumstances mean some don’t have the luxury of time to explore options.  In particular, urgent situations arise when the client can’t be discharged from hospital unless suitable accommodation can be found.

The service includes liaison with and referral to aged care assessment teams who are responsible for assessing eligibility for aged care placement and assistance with the completion of paperwork.

The initial meeting involves the client, their primary carer if they have one, and family members. Often the carer is either a husband or wife whose health may be impacted by the constant demands placed on them.

“We see a lot of guilt and grief from family members and the clients themselves,” Ms Black said.

“Loss of independence, moving from their own home by choice or force, strong feelings and emotions – these are real challenges which need to be navigated sensitively.

“If we can get a sense of who our clients are as a person, we can always advocate on their behalf more effectively,” she said.

While more time to plan is the ideal situation, the MAPS team navigate clients and their families through the process with reassurance and respect.

MAPS is a service within Mater Health and has no formal affiliation with any aged care facilities and is not paid or remunerated by such facilities.

For further information about Mater Aged Placement Service, please contact 0409 626 708 during business hours or email MAPS@mater.org.au.

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Email: news@mater.org.au

Tags: aged, home, mater at home