MAC & ARAS Partnership

by Nina Telford

Part of Multicultural Aged Care’s funding agreement is to ‘develop CALD communities capacity’ in meeting the Home Care Standards requirements by conducting workshops tailored to meet the needs of CALD community groups.

One of the expected outcomes of Home Care Standard 3: Service User Rights and Responsibilities is advocacy. For a number of years now, MAC has been delivering advocacy workshops in partnership with Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS). By co-delivering these sessions, participants get the benefit of ARAS providing ‘up to date’ information on advocacy, whilst MAC provides the cultural perspectives on advocacy.

In early 2013, MAC and ARAS introduced and delivered a new workshop on ‘Elder Abuse – Charter of Rights and Responsibilities’. Once again, ARAS provided the core information about Elder Abuse, and MAC the understanding of elder abuse from a CALD perspective using scenarios and relevant interactive activities during the workshop.

The joint partnership between MAC and ARAS, goes beyond delivering Home Care Standards workshops such as Advocacy, Rights and Responsibilities or Elder Abuse. At the ARAS two day conference in June last year, MAC participated by having a display of MAC services at the expo organised by ARAS which was a ‘value add’ for delegates who attended. By working and supporting each other, MAC and ARAS are able to demonstrate that aged care workers and service providers will increase their knowledge about MAC and ARAS and how the two organisations link and complement each other. ARAS staff are always keen to learn what advocacy or abuse really means to CALD older people. Equally, MAC staff are eager to observe how policies and issues on advocacy or elder abuse could impact on the CALD communities.

The MAC and ARAS AGMs provided opportunities for both organisations to network with others in the same area of expertise. Often it would lead to better understanding of ‘who’s who and what’s new’ in the sector and how we can all work together to achieve the best outcomes for older Australians, including those from CALD backgrounds.

The partnership between MAC and ARAS has been a great example of ‘better practice’ and a ‘success story’ in terms of how collaborations and joint ventures can be seen as providing real benefits in information provision, and identifying CALD related issues and gaps when providing culturally appropriate care. In particular it endeavours to meet the culturally and linguistically appropriate care specified in the National Aging and Aged Care Strategy, 2012, which refers to being responsive, sensitive and inclusive when providing for CALD older people.

MAC greatly appreciates the support shown by ARAS and trusts the affiliation between the two organisations will continue long into the future, which will be invaluable to those providing and receiving aged care services.