Samantha Edmonds is the Silver Rainbow – National Project Manager at the National LGBTI Health Alliance and is responsible for implementing their LGBTI ageing and ageing project. This project educates and informs service providers, policy makers and government on inclusive practice in Australia and including delivery of the outcomes of the National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy. Silver Rainbow also provides LGBTI aged care awareness training to staff in ageing and aged care nationally.
Samantha is a member of a number of national advisory groups in ageing and aged care, both Government and Non-government. She was recently appointed to the Aged Care Sector Committee (ACSC), which provides advice to the Government on aged care policy development and implementation and helps to guide the future reform of the aged care system. Samantha is chair of the ACSC Diversity Sub-Group which is developing a Diversity Framework for the Aged Care Sector. Samantha holds Masters Degrees in Social Policy, Politics and International Relations. She has also completed the Macquarie University Global Leadership Program.
Prior to her current role Sam has worked in diverse fields including health policy and human rights. She was part of a small team with the Australian Human Rights Commission working on the Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Inquiry.
LGBTI Aged Care Action Plan – from Idea to Delivery
On the 30 June 2017 the Australian LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy ended and no commitment was made to continue the Strategy.
The National LGBTI Health Alliance, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Federation of Ethnic Community Councils and the Australian Association of Gerontology (representing a combined number of 1324 organisations nationally) met with the relevant Government Ministers, Shadow Ministers and political representatives to propose the development of a Diversity Framework and the creation of specific action plans for each of the diversity groups – Aboriginal, LGBTI and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This is especially important in a sector that is moving to a consumer-focused market driven sector, where those that do have specific needs could find themselves unintentionally excluded or ageing and aged care services could struggle to create a fully inclusive environment.
Sitting under the Diversity Framework will be 3 Action Plans that will address the specific and unique needs of LGBTI, ATSI and CALD. The Action Plans will consist of:
- Information on and strategies to address the specific needs of each group
- Achievable and measurable outcomes for services and government
- Ongoing and final evaluation processes
- How to ensure ongoing sustainability of inclusive practice specific to these groups within ageing and aged care
In August 2017 the Alliance began consultations with LGBTI older people living across Australia including metropolitan, regional and remote areas. This was supported by an online survey. The information gathered from these consultations and online submissions was distilled into actions and goals under the 5 key consumer outcomes identified in the Diversity Framework, as well as additional actions that were specific to each of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse and intersex older people as well as a focus on Aboriginal and CALD LGBTI elders and older people. The solutions recommended by LGBTI older people were often quite simple but innovative and easy to implement for aged care providers.
This presentation will follow the journey from an idea that we advocated to our Government through to the development and delivery of the LGBTI Aged Care Action Plan. It will discuss the challenges that had to be overcome, the rewards of engaging directly with LGBTI older people (especially where we had a blank document and could say “you help us create what will work for you”) and the work that goes into creating a national document on behalf of the Government.