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September 13, 2011

Active service for aged and disabled

Helping implement the “active service” approach to HACC services are Fiona Hellier and Maria O’Rourke.

An “active service” approach to the provision of Home and Community Care (HACC) services is receiving good reception in the Port Fairy community.

The new approach is being jointly implemented by Moyne Health Services (MHS) and the Moyne Shire as part of a statewide initiative to focus HACC services on what the elderly and disabled can do, rather than what they cannot do.

MHS active service model project worker Fiona Hellier said the new model took a “doing with” rather than a “doing for” approach to its services for elderly and disabled clients. The change covers services that help people
remain independent — such as home and personal care, district nursing, meals on wheels, the Port Fairy Adult Day Activity Centre, home maintenance and respite care.

Moyne Shire assessment co-ordination offi cer Maria O’Rourke said rather than focusing on services such as vacuuming homes or cutting the toenails of elderly clients, the new approach took a more holistic approach to clients’ needs. “For example, we had a man who said he wanted someone to play chess with and we found him someone.”

Ms O’Rourke said the active service approach considered clients’ socialisation and physical well-being as well as their nutritional support. She said aged care service providers were finding elderly people were wanting to do more than seniors in earlier decades. Today’s elderly were also enjoying better health than previous generations, Ms O’Rourke said.

As part of the new approach, many elderly people are encouraged to connect with community groups to improve their socialisation. Moyneyana aged care centre’s male residents are going to the Port Fairy Men’s Shed to socialise, and female residents are going to outside craft groups and the Port Fairy Senior Citizens Centre.

Efforts are also under way to establish swimming and walking groups for clients. Ms Hellier said a big part of implementing the new approach was educating the community and service providers about the new strategy.
Ms O’Rourke said the strong community in Port Fairy had helped the new approach gain a good reception locally. She said many elderly people remained active in the town’s community groups and organisations. “People here like to be social,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Article by Emma Himmerlreich published in The Moyne Gazette on Thursday September 8th, 2011.

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