A home care program tailored to meet the unique needs of older Indigenous Australians is a winner at this year’s innovAGEING National Awards.
The innovative home care program called Booraja was developed by IRT Foundation in close collaboration with the Walbanga community in the Eurobodalla region.
Booraja won the Realising Wellness and Re-Ablement Award for promoting the independence of older Australians and supporting them to remain in their own homes and communities.
IRT Foundation Manager, Toby Dawson says while the national recognition is a great honour, more needs to be done to ensure Aboriginal Elders are better supported to age well.
“Our research shows that there are major barriers preventing many Aboriginal people from accessing and benefiting from government-funded home care services. These include a deep lack of trust in government systems, low levels of health literacy and no culturally appropriate workforce or service models,” Mr Dawson said.
“In developing and delivering the Booraja program, our goal is to help older Indigenous Australians overcome these barriers by providing culturally appropriate home care that enables them to stay connected to kin and country.”
Recognising that Indigenous seniors prefer to be cared for at home by other Indigenous people, a key part of the program is focused on training Aboriginal job seekers to provide culturally sensitive aged care at home. The leadership team and all care positions within the Booraja program are held by Aboriginal professionals.
To date, the Booraja program is delivering home care services to 15 older Indigenous people. Of these, 75% had no prior knowledge of home care services available. Fifty per cent of the Booraja care workers have completed their Certificate III in Individual Support via IRT Academy and a further 20% will have completed this certificate by the end of September.
Booraja is funded by a $1.4 million grant from the Dementia and Aged Care Services Innovation Funding Round awarded to IRT Group in 2017. IRT has used these funds to research the effectiveness of Consumer Directed Care in Home Care Packages in Aboriginal Communities, and develop and deliver the model for Booraja in close consultation with Bateman’s Bay Aboriginal community.
The annual innovAGEING National Awards program celebrates innovation in the age services industry. The national innovAGEING network includes providers, suppliers, researchers, consumer groups, investors and public sector agencies working together to accelerate innovation, translate ideas into action and deliver better outcomes for older Australians.
About IRT Group:
IRT Group is one of Australia’s largest community-owned seniors’ lifestyle and care providers. With almost 50 years’ experience and locations throughout NSW, the ACT and South East Queensland, we employ almost 2400 people and play a significant role in promoting seniors as dynamic, influential and valuable members of society.