Jennifer Grieve is the Executive Director of Residential & Community Care for the Hall & Prior Health & Aged Care Group.
A Registered Nurse with an extensive background in seniors’ health and aged care, Jennifer has contributed to the development of a variety of community and residential health and aged care services and programs throughout metropolitan and rural Western Australia since 1972. Her leadership roles have included management, safety and quality coordination and management, health and aged care research, clinical practice, staff development and health promotion for older people.
Jennifer has worked for the Hall & Prior Group since 2002 in executive management roles which have included leadership, management, teaching, staff development and research.
In 2005, Jennifer became an inaugural fellow (Clinical Leadership) or the Joanna Briggs Institute for Evidence Based Practice.
Through Hall & Prior, Jennifer leads the organisation’s clinical operations, including oversight of clinical, commercial and compliance outcomes for 14 residential aged care homes in Western Australia. She has coordinated significant organisational change programs, including introducing a multidisciplinary clinical support team into the Hall & Prior organisational structure.
Jennifer is passionate about leading and mentoring clinical and nursing staff, as well as providing exceptional care to older people.
Beyond inequality and towards a better quality of life
The issues pertaining to homelessness among older people are complex and the challenges associated with providing care to this group are significant.
While the Australian population is ageing, the homeless population is ageing at a faster rate and the demand for residential care services for will intensify. Older people who are homeless have disproportionately high rates of poor health, antisocial behaviour, limited access to care services and lower reports of quality of life. Poor physical and mental health both result in and from homelessness. Furthermore, it is widely acknowledged that homeless persons may age prematurely.
The Australian Government’s policies suggest recognition and respect for diversity, with a focus on equitable provision. Despite an aged care system that provides a range of residential and home care services, the provision of services for homeless older people is often problematic and exclusionary. Service data suggests that there is a lack of access to generalist aged care services for people who are financially disadvantaged, particularly those who are homeless.
Evidence suggests there are both external and internal barriers that hinder access aged care services for homeless people. These barriers include rigidity of the system, unavailable appropriate services, and lack of funds. Internal barriers may include denial of health needs, fear of loss of control or care providers’ actions. A residential aged care program in Australia is not only overcoming these barriers but has made changes towards inclusiveness and providing better quality of life for these older people who have been homeless. The purpose of this paper is to showcase this program of care for this marginalised group of older people.
A multi-pronged approach has been adopted across multiple residential care facilities across two states in Australia to address inequality. The approach has included facilitation of education, organisational support, and the allocation of appropriate internal resources including access to specialist clinical support.
This approach has also been employed for care recipients formerly in detention centres, prisons, and forensic mental health institutions. It is important that all people are made to feel at home and safe; many for the first time.
This program works to recognise homeless and disadvantaged groups as individuals and not a homogenous group and recognises that access to aged care services is a basic human right. Case studies will be used to highlight this person-centred approach in action.
This emerging program goes a long way to supporting society’s most vulnerable older population.