AAA July-August 2019 Cover Story

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Back to basics

ACSA National Summit reaffirms the sector’s purpose AN ADVERTISING


SPONSORED FEATURE The 32nd ACSA National Summit takes place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 8 – 10 October

Reaffirming our purpose Aged & Community Services Australia is bringing the industry together this October to hear from leaders and innovators about the opportunities and challenges the sector is facing, and help delegates to refocus on their core purpose.


ith the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety well underway, continuing regulatory reform and provider’s financial challenges increasing, it is more important than ever for all in the aged care industry to adapt to the sector’s changing landscape. The 32nd ACSA National Summit taking place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 8 – 10 October aims to do this by offering an opportunity for delegates to revisit the core purpose that drives all in the sector. This summit’s theme ‘Purpose, People and Performance’ will be addressed through 21 plenary presentations and 45 concurrent sessions that aim to reconnect with the sector’s strengths and encourage aged care providers and their workforces to refocus, energise and share. Patricia Sparrow, CEO of ACSA, says the summit will go back to basics and shine a national spotlight on providers to reaffirm their purpose in the sector. It will also spark a conversation about the role of aged care organisations, which is to provide high quality care and to support older people, she says. “It is about our purpose and why we do what we do and it’s important to reaffirm for ACSA members and most aged care providers what they are there for, which is to support older people,” Sparrow tells Australian Ageing Agenda. It is a more important time than ever for aged care sector to be reminded of its purpose, she says. “It’s important to everyone in the hurly 26 | JULY – AUGUST 2019

Patricia Sparrow, CEO of ACSA

burly to have that core foundation and that ground view.” The second element of the theme, ‘People’, encompasses the people receiving care as well as those working in the industry and aims to bring the focus back to placing people at the heart of all care services, Sparrow says. “It’s about the people we care for, who are our absolute priority and focus, but it’s also about the people we employ; those 350,000 workers who are doing an amazing job each and every day,” she says.


The Summit’s third focus, performance, will look at how aged care organisations and the sector as a whole are delivering high quality services along with the technology available to assist providers. “The theme of performance encompasses speakers who will inquire into the role technology can play and engage with start-ups who are bringing fresh ideas and technologies to support person-centred care and improve quality of life,” Sparrow says. This years’ line-up and thought-provoking content targets all people working in the aged care sector from board members to personal care assistants and everyone in between. The conference comes at an important time with the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety shining a welcome light on the sector, says Sparrow. “It’s an opportunity for a national conversation about aged care and that’s why

“It’s important to everyone in the hurly burly to have that core foundation and that ground view.”

it’s important at this point in time for us to be talking about what really matters to us as providers,” she says. “We picked this program to reflect what providers are saying is most important to them and what they’re interested in learning about and to be able to discuss and see different points of views.” Sparrow says the evidence from the Royal Commission hearings has heard about the complexities of delivering care, and the many challenges providers face, but evidence has also highlighted the many positives, including the innovative ways aged care providers are supporting older Australians and their families.

Key speakers

The Summit addresses key areas for home and residential aged care providers including consumers and their diverse needs, governance, issues in the aged care community, leadership, internal systems and the rights of older people.

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Among the high-profile speakers is World Vision Australia chief advocate Tim Costello (as pictured on the cover), who is a community leader and voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics, and Andrew Hollo, director and principal consultant of Workwell Consulting. “In keynote presentations, Tim and Andrew will speak to the focus on purpose and offer their thoughts on how organisations can develop big ideas and get results in complex sectors like aged care,” Sparrow says. In keeping with its promise to present a program incorporating new ideas and approaches to important issues, ACSA is bringing Londonbased executive Professor Julienne Meyer to discuss the theme of people. Meyer will discuss My Home Life, the social movement she founded to improve the quality of residential aged care services. “My Home Life is a global social movement focused on quality improvement in care homes. It focuses on how you deliver relationship-based care and that’s critical because we’re all about relationships,” Sparrow says. Delegates will also hear from a panel of technology start-ups who will share their innovations and ideas on how delegates can improve aged care systems and processes. Panel members includes Adam Jahnke from Umps Health, Chris Gray from iCareHealth, Karina Peace from Japara Healthcare and Lee-Ann Breger from the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre. “We have a panel of fantastic people who are new to the sector and who are creating new systems, services and environments using technology,” says Sparrow. “It’s about bringing together people from start-ups, who can often create fantastic solutions that will help a provider perform better, with the providers, who are looking for that sort of assistance.” She says the content-rich concurrent sessions will address key concerns and challenges in the sector, including the Aged Care Quality 28 | JULY – AUGUST 2019

“In keynote presentations, Tim and Andrew will speak to the focus on purpose and offer their thoughts on how organisations can develop big ideas and get results in complex sectors like aged care.”

Standards, issues in home care, pricing transparency, consumer preferences and building resilient change in an organisation. Among the experts presenting is Thomson Geer partner Arthur Koumoukelis, who will discuss how to interpret and implement the new quality standards from a governance perspective. He will look at the standards through the prism of what boards do, the role of the CEO and how organisations can meet their strategies. Koumoukelis will also explore the challenges for organisations with limited access to assistance, the importance of skill-based boards and the emerging role of external support structures, such as industry associations. This session aims to show delegates the importance of moving beyond a tick-box approach to compliance. This is particularly relevant as it looks at balancing purpose with capacity for aged care providers, says Sparrow. In other summit presentations, a number of aged care provider representatives will showcase innovative models of care including those that have improved the wellbeing of residents and the culture of organisations. Among those is health and wellness unit manager Nicole Donhooo from residential and home aged care provider BaptistCare NSW & ACT who will share initiatives BaptistCare has adopted over the past 12 months to embed wellness into its service delivery including the physical wellness program Active at Home. The program is delivered by aged care workers who have completed a mandatory accredited training unit is focused on improving strength and balance. Elsewhere at the conference, Mark Sewell, the CEO of fellow NSW provider Warrigal, will speak to delegates about how to develop a resilient aged care culture. He says they have achieved this through their service delivery model ‘Warrigal Way’, which focuses on the wellness, choice and the lifestyles of residents.


ACSA National Summit 2019 8-10 October Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre T: 03 6231 2999 W: E:

Sewell will share data drawn from staff surveys gathered over five years from across the residential, home and retirement living provider’s 12 locations since the model was implemented. Closing the summit is Adam Goodes, the 2014 Australian of the Year, former professional Sydney Swans Australian Football League player and co-founder of the GO Foundation, which provides scholarships to indigenous Australians at all levels of education from kindergarten to university. Sparrow says Goodes will share the challenges he has faced in his career including those related to his Aboriginality and how he dealt with behaviours directed at him from the community. “We think this is an important closing and motivational speech, as it is grounded in some of the themes the conference talks about,” she says. The summit will help aged care providers be part of the national aged care conversation underway and reconnect with other providers, says Sparrow. “It’s an opportunity to be informed, to learn, to engage and to do what’s important, which is to network with other people who are experiencing similar highs, similar lows and similar challenges.”


Plenary Speakers


Concurrent Sessions


Panel Sessions

Conference features

Returning again to this year’s Summit is the ACSA Guru Bar – a popular feature of last year’s Summit. Stationed in the exhibition hall, it gives delegates an opportunity to put questions to speakers during the break after their presentations. “We designed the Guru Bar with the notion that after the speaker comes down after they have presented, it’s an opportunity for delegates to have more engagement with them,” Sparrow says. “Last year the absolute stand-out hit was Dr Jordan Nguyen, who did a presentation then stayed for the rest of the day talking to people.” New to the Summit this year, ACSA has introduced a ‘speed-dating’ event giving


Keynote Presentations

Panel sessions •S ocial disadvantage in aged care • Technology start-ups • Royal commission

delegates and representatives from start-ups a chance to connect and find out ways aged care organisations can work with new and innovative technology providers. “If you’re an aged care provider and you’ve got a particular issue that you’re faced with, the idea is you can speak to a start-up, whose role is to find new and interesting ways to tackle challenges,” says Sparrow. “It’s about meeting a challenge and finding someone who might be able to develop a solution for you.” Sparrow encourages everyone in the aged care sector to attend the event and make the most of the many opportunities to learn about innovative and leading practices, particularly in the topical area of governance. “We think that anyone that works in aged care should come along, including board members because a lot of the focus is now on governance in aged care,” she says. “If you’re a CEO or senior manager, there is going to be a lot in it for you.” The three-day long summit is an opportunity to hear everything that is going on in aged care and be properly informed, says Sparrow. “Come to be engaged, learn, contribute and reaffirm your purpose. Reaffirm why you do what you do and take back a whole lot of ideas, knowledge, friendship and connections that are going to help you do your job even better.” n

Contact ACSA: T: 1300 877 855 E: W:

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