Annual Conference 2023
New Zealand Aged Care Association Conference 2023
Like every worthwhile conference, this year was all opportunity and looking forward.
But it was to be expected that we also had to look back.. to look forward.
Simon O’Dowd set up the conference by looking back at the past year’s challenges, and how we showed resilience and determination to assure the wellbeing of our elderly.
Emma Prestidge acknowledged that this was a tough time and that it didn’t go without notice. She talked of the 4 system shifts under Pae Ora because the health system is so fragmented, but that reformations will take “Quite some time”.
Carolyn Cooper reminded us of her role in ensuring the quality of care and access to health services for older people – wherever and whenever needed. She told us that they’ve investigated how to deal better with complaints and what the main complaints were, plus the barriers to complaints. Lack of trust is a massive issue.
Jehan Casinader told us his personal story and how important it is for us all to know our own story. He urged us to define our stories and tell our stories.
We heard from Dr Shane Reti who told us the country needs to move on from using Covid as an excuse for lack of action, and he focused on 3 main factors: workforce, infrastructure and operating expenditure.
Andrea Vance thanked us for providing the care and assurance you gave us who have family members in aged care. She noted that from personal experience, we are streets ahead of other parts of the world.
At our political panel, our four representatives came to the consensus that it is a crisis.
Consensus on what must happen.
Different approaches to HOW to make this happen.
All say it’s a priority.
Only one (the Greens) has Aged Care printed on its manifesto.
Dr Bryan Betty spoke on the “workforce burnout” and since Covid, our GPs have exhibited higher rates of distress. One of the worst in the OECD. We’re in a vicious cycle where more pressure on Hospitals equals more pressure on Primary Care, which equals more pressure on hospitals.
At the gala dinner, we had tears of Joy, an unforgettable waiata, and Vincent and the Hateful 8 playing us into the night.
Brad Olsen covered how global economies will affect us, high inflation, high-interest rates and lower job numbers.
Rob Campbell finished by observing why political parties aren’t talking about committing the same level of spending on aged care over the next 10-20 years as they are on roading and infrastructure? Have they already made their decision on where they want to put our money? Seems so.
Nursing Leadership Group, we must tell our story and get it heard! Nursing training numbers are up – we need to find a way to educate the new nurses into what makes the Aged Care sector so rewarding.
While we know the demand for the services provided by you all will continue to grow, and nobody can promise it’s going to get easier. Whatever the challenge you’re facing – provision of new beds, equity of access, workforce retention – you lie at the core of the solution. When a government realises people CARE, they will in turn respond. Make some noise. Keep making some noise. And remember that you are all heroes.
We look forward to seeing you all again at next year’s conference in Auckland!
The Conference was brought to you by the NZ Aged Care Association Education Trust.