Community Care and Residential Settings

As some older people become frail, they may require more complex healthcare, and this may be provided either in the community or in residential aged care settings. Importantly, older people should be supported in living in whatever setting best suits their needs and desires. Quality of life, safety, security, and maintaining activity and purpose are paramount.

Elderly couple smiling

There is a broad range of aged care services available to older adults who require them, and this translates to a wide array of practice options for nurses providing care to older adults. Aged care is a rapidly advancing specialty area, requiring a complex set of technical and generalist nursing skills. Several areas of subspecialisation have also evolved, including aged care administration, older adult mental health, and aged care rehabilitation.

Aged care services in Australia are undergoing significant change. In 2012, Department of Health and Ageing aged care reform package (Living Longer Living Better Linked to another web site), fundamentally changed the delivery of aged care services by:

It is important that there is a smooth and integrated continuum of care, so that unnecessary admissions to hospital and premature entries into residential care facilities are avoided.

Thinking Challenge

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare document in the first link below, there are over 185,482 Australians currently being cared for by residential care services, and the size of these services is growing. However, according to the UK document, older people would often prefer to remain in their homes and receive extra support.

  • What did the UK study find were the most highly represented groups amongst those who were admitted to residential aged care facilities?
  • What types of services were these clients unlikely to have been accessing prior to being admitted to aged care facilities?
  • Do you think that if they had been accessing such services, their need for residential aged care may have been delayed?
  • Which types of health problems had been insufficiently followed up in these clients?