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:

     Legislation and Reform

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.  

Aged care sector newsletters and alerts 

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:

Aged Care Diversity Framework and Action Plans (2017) 

Aged Care Quality StandardsAged Care Quality and Safety Commission

Visit the pages above for further information and subscribe to the Aged Care Quality Bulletin Newsletter to keep up to date.

     Explore your biases and assumptions

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.

Bias and Prejudice 

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.

EveryAGE Counts is a national advocacy campaign aimed at tackling ageism against older Australians. Start by taking their Am I ageist? quiz., before exploring their resources.

     Know your population

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?

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.

 Lived Experience 

Health and Wellbeing 

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)

     Meaningful Engagement

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:

Information and guidance to support effective and meaningful participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decision making.
Guide from Purple Orange on how to meaningfully co-design with people living with disability.
Guide from Dementia Australia on meaningful consultation with people living with dementia, families and carers.
Practice Guide from Centre for Cultural Ageing in Diversity.
Tool from Multicultural NSW to help you to work in partnership with culturally diverse consumers and design appropriate services and programs that are culturally respectful and competent.

     Know your organisation – self-assessment

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:

Assessment tool to help agencies evaluate multicultural access and equity best practice.
Assessment tool to help assess whether there has been a measured approach towards the delivery of culturally safe and accessible health services for Aboriginal patients and clients.
Assessment tool to help agencies evaluate multicultural access and equity best practice.
Matching Inclusive practice standards in aged care with the ACQS and Rainbow Tick Accreditation.

     Know your skills and capacity

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:

Toolkit developed by Grampians Sector Development Team which provides a foundation to explore diversity, inclusion, wellness and reablement through case studies for organisations providing Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). It is designed to support conversations and learning opportunities to broaden understanding.
Inclusive Service Standards training modules, free monthly online webinars and Diversity Mentoring Program.
OPAN’s Planning for Diversity workshop series offers practical information and tools to make your services more inclusive of older people from diverse and marginalised groups.
Range of resources and online learning including Connecting the Pieces podcastvideo and activities to support the implementation of inclusive aged care services.

Step 1

  Know your diversity context

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Step 2

   Developing your Diversity Action Plan

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Step 3

 Implement and Evaluate

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