Step 1: Before you start – know your context!
The first step is all about preparation. Before you start planning, it is important to understand who is in your community and assess if there are barriers to those people in your community accessing your services.
To do this, consider the sections below:
Aged Care reform is underway in Australia in response to the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Visit these sites and subscribe to newsletters and updates.
There is also currently Aged Care Legislative Reform and a new Aged Care Act underway. You can be involved in this consultation via the Aged Care Engagement Hub.
Falling out of the above-mentioned reforms and legislation changes, as expected there will be updates to many areas of aged care, including the:
Visit the pages above for further information and subscribe to the Aged Care Quality Bulletin Newsletter to keep up to date.
Diversity is about recognising that everybody is unique. When it comes to embracing diversity, an important step is to understand our own biases and prejudices, because we all have them.
This video provides an introduction to exploring your unconscious bias. Self-identifying your own unconscious bias is important so you can change the way the thoughts or feelings that you are not always aware of can influence your judgements and your work.
One key prejudice that is important to challenge is ageism. The wellbeing and quality of life of older people are compromised because of ageist attitudes.
Understand: Who lives in your community? Who uses your services? Are there barriers to access your services? Are you providing the right services to meet the needs of your community?
- Use endorsed data sources, examples detailed in table here
- Work with your referrers, peak bodies, community groups, research institutes and specialist service providers
- Meaningful engagement with consumers and the community more broadly
The Aged Care Diversity Framework (2017) highlights 12 characteristics of diversity, recognising that older people with diverse needs, characteristics and life experiences can share the experience of being part of a group or multiple groups that may have experienced exclusion, discrimination and stigma during their lives. It is important to note that there are many more diverse characteristics which may not be listed here and emerging vulnerabilities for people to access the services they need. It is not an exact science.
To find resources to enhance your understanding of specific diversity characteristics, and how you can support people with diverse needs, refer to other sections of this website.
Intersectionality is a way of seeing the whole person’s unique identity which is constantly evolving and made up any number of diverse characteristics. Age, gender, health, disability, gender, sexuality, cultural background, religion and location are just some examples of the different factors that shape a person’s identity and circumstances.
In principle, your services and care should reflect the inclusion of all people on the basis a person-centred approach to care and “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1976)
Knowing your population is not just about numbers. Listening to the voices and lived experiences of consumers can provide the most important information to support your diversity planning.
Consultation and co-design with service users, consumers and community is critical to identify and make sure what you do meets the needs of those who use your service.
However, you must take care to make sure that you are doing this in is a considered way, that is meaningful for all involved, creating equal and reciprocal relationships.
Resources to support meaningful engagement:
When you know your population, ask: Are we providing the services in a safe and accessible way? Is this represented in our staff diversity and client data records?
Are you considering diversity and inclusion in all of your services areas? For example, cultural perspectives that influence in end of life or palliative care service planning?
Do your values or mission statements speak to diversity?
Client and resident diversity in line with workforce diversity is a good indicator of being an inclusive organisation. Think about whether your workforce represents your community.
Self-assessment tools are useful to systematically examine your services and analyse the barriers limiting access to use your service. These tools and resources can also help to inform your organisation’s perspective on cultural safety as demonstrated internally such as within your policies and procedures and training/professional development and supervision opportunities and, externally as reported by your clients via formal and informal feedback opportunities.
The Centre for Cultural Diversity and Ageing provides a range of excellent resources, practice guides, fact sheets and a Diversity Series of webinars of key topics related to innovative and inclusive practice. In particular, their Inclusive Service Standards and resources aim to assist aged care providers in the development and the delivery of inclusive services to all consumers.
Subscribe to their newsletter for updates and schedule time for you and your staff to attend the Diversity Series webinars.
Other useful tools for self-assessment include:
When beginning your diversity planning journey, it’s also important to reflect on your own skills and capacity in the diversity planning space. Not every organisation has dedicated diversity specialists or team, or it may be just one part of a bigger role. You might be the person in your organisation who is responsible for quality improvement, service planning and/or compliance, and be newer to diversity work. There may also be people within your organisation who are passionate about supporting diversity who would like to be champions.
Being aware of your own strengths and limitations can help you set and work towards achievable diversity planning that is more likely to see success.
There are many opportunities out there to grow your knowledge and confidence – here’s just a few: