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‘Fixing the aged care crisis’ won’t be easy – just 5% of homes above mandatory staffing targets

In his election victory speech, PM Anthony Albanese pledged to “fix the crisis in aged care”. One of the biggest challenges facing the Government is addressing widespread staffing shortages. Only a fraction of aged care homes currently have staffing levels above new minimum ratios that will be mandatory from October next year.

Mental distress is rising, especially for low-income middle-aged women

The new government faces a tough challenge in improving mental health. Very high psychological distress is rising most steeply in the middle-aged; more than doubling for women aged 55–64 from 2001–2018. Medicare spending and out-of-pocket mental health-care costs are increasing but those most needing care aren’t getting it.

How to complain about aged care and get the result you want

You or a loved one in residential aged care may have concerns about personal or medical care, being adequately consulted about changes to care, or be concerned about charges on the latest bill. You could also be concerned about theft, neglect or abuse. Here’s how you can raise issues with the relevant person or authority to improve care and support.

From glasses to mobility scooters, ‘assistive technology’ isn’t always high-tech

The WHO estimates one in three of us will need assistive technology, ranging from glasses to mobility scooters, in our lifetimes. This number is set to grow with an ageing population and the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, which are major causes of disability.

Treating sleep apnoea can improve memory in people with cognitive decline

Growing evidence suggests disturbed sleep may increase the risk of developing dementia. A new study is showing treating sleep apnoea in older adults with mild cognitive impairment can improve memory, but not other areas of cognition, in the short term.

Labor’s pledge to properly pay women and care workers is a start, but it won’t be easy

The Fair Work Commission is now considering a claim by unions to increase award rates in aged care to an average of $29 an hour. But that won’t fix the deeper problem - that heavily-feminised occupations are undervalued. Labor is promising to make gender pay equity an objective of the Fair Work Act.

Labor has a huge health agenda ahead of it. What policies should we expect?

According to health economist Dr Stephen Duckett, Labor’s win in Saturday’s election heralds real change in health policy. Although Labor had a small-target strategy, with limited big spending commitments, he says its victory represents a value shift to a party committed to equity and Medicare, and, potentially, a style shift to a hands-on, equity-oriented health minister.

Palliative Care Week highlights important discussions we should all have: opinion

No one in the “prime of their life” thinks to sit down and discuss with their family how they want to be treated at the end of their life, but it’s an important discussion that we should all have. As we look toward Palliative Care Week (May 22-28) those of us who work in the sector hope it will spark more open conversations about what happens at the end of life.

‘Very optimistic’: Research offers hope for MND and Alzheimer’s gene treatment

Revolutionary gene therapies to treat motor neuron disease, Alzheimer’s and a severe form of childhood epilepsy may be just around the corner, with a new venture aiming to bring Macquarie University’s medical research to the world.

Serving up choice and dignity in aged care – how meals are enjoyed is about more than what’s on the plate

Meals are rituals built around pleasures and choices. While what is served at mealtimes in aged care homes has received recent attention and Labor has pledged to improve the food offered, new research highlights that how meals are offered is just as important.

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