Breaking down barriers for Forgotten Australians – Helping Hand

Breaking down barriers for Forgotten Australians

A new report from Australian Healthcare Associates examines the challenges of providing appropriate palliative care to people who carry the legacy of childhood trauma from State or institutional care.

The report outlines a series of recommendations for improving access and standards of care for some of the most vulnerable in our society.

The description ‘Forgotten Australians’ refers to people who as children were harmed in State or institutional care. This includes former wards of the State who were placed in children’s homes, foster homes and orphanages across Australia. Forgotten Australians, along with the Stolen Generations and child migrants are now getting older. For many of them, the prospect of going into aged care, specifically palliative care, represents another experience of institutionalised care and can be especially traumatic for those still suffering the life-long consequences of abuse and neglect.

The acknowledgement of the ongoing impact on these groups has been formally recognised through the National Apology to Stolen Generations (2008), the National Apology to Forgotten Australians and Child Migrants (2009) and the National Forced Adoptions Apology (2013).

In February 2018, Australian Healthcare Associates (AHA) were engaged by the Australian Government Department of Health to investigate barriers to palliative care for the following groups:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • care leavers and people affected by forced adoption
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • people with disabilities
  • people experiencing homelessness
  • people who are incarcerated
  • people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex
  • refugees
  • veterans.

AHA consulted with a number of stakeholders, including Helping Hand. Our contribution to this body of work, reflects our ongoing commitment towards acknowledging, understanding and responding to the needs of older Forgotten Australians.

In January 2019, Helping Hand launched Forgotten Australians: real care the second time around. A national ‘first’ this guide was developed in collaboration with Forgotten Australians who used our services as well as clients from Elm Place, a support service run by Relationships Australia SA.

The guide has been widely distributed around the country. Although the guide was developed for the aged care sector, its concepts are equally applicable to other settings, including palliative care. Click here to read AHA’s report and recommendations.

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