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Collaboration at the centre of older persons’ care

August 31, 2023

West Moreton is the fastest-growing region in Queensland (in relative terms) and our population is ageing rapidly. By 2026, our general population is forecast to grow by 30 per cent (to 419,000 people), while the portion of people aged 65 and older is expected to increase by 50 per cent (to more than 60,000 people). Added to this, our culturally diverse population of older persons is dispersed across urban, suburban, and rural settings.

With this expected growth in consideration, Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN provided funding to establish two collaboratives in the West Moreton region: The Care at the End of Life (CAEOL) Collaborative, established in July 2018, and the West Moreton Older Persons Care (OPCC) Collaborative, which was established in February 2021 following the success of the CAEOL Collaborative. As a collective the West Moreton Regional Care Collaboratives are auspiced under the governance of UniSQ.

The aim of the CAEOL and OPC Collaborative, collectively referred to as the West Moreton Region Care Collaboratives, is to bring together like-minded government and non-government services and community to optimise systems, processes, and outcomes in social care activities with the health professional and consumer community.

A major strategic priority for the PHN, as outlined in the Plan for Older People’s Care 2021–2024, is collaboration and integration. Older person-centred care requires health and care service providers to work collaboratively at the individual, organisational and system levels of care. The West Moreton Care Collaboratives places partnerships, collaboration, and integration at the forefront of its vision, including representation from government, non-government, hospital, and community organisations from across the health and social care spectrums, including consumer representation.

This West Moreton Care Collaborative interim report (July 2023) provides an update of activities based on the Action Plans for the Care at End of Life Collaborative and the Older Persons Care Collaborative. The report outlines the work completed and work in progress in alignment with the funding agreement.

In February 2023 a member forum reinforced priority areas and the OPCC Action Plan. This year, projects have progressed within the Action Plan and future funding opportunities for areas needing specific implementation and translation funding beyond the scope of this funding are being explored. Translation and evaluation projects include Somerset Assist, Emergency preparedness for Seniors, and local oral health pathways. Education of staff, students and unregulated professionals remains a priority.

A major goal identified in the OPCC Action Plan 2022-2023 was to support the workforce supporting older people in the region with education. The action for this was to host a Forum for health professionals and unregistered care staff in the West Moreton region.

The 2023 Education Symposium ‘Illumination through Collaboration’ is for health professionals and care providers supporting older persons and those with life limiting illness and will be held at UniSQ, Ipswich on November 1 and 2. As a result of the regular planning committee meetings, the program has been finalised, with Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN as platinum sponsors.

The CAEOL Collaborative agreed to their 2021-2024 Action Plan mid-year. Work has progressed on this Action Plan since the time of the interim report in May and is outlined in the included action plan update. This year’s focus is on community development education, liaison, and future funding opportunity. Mapping of vulnerable populations pathways for community was highlighted in the CaEoL Forum in February 2023. This project has gained momentum and is in consultation phase.

As per the CAEOL Work Plan, another key goal was to build on the existing regional Care at the End-of-Life Knowledge Framework by establishing tools and opportunities to raise awareness and improve knowledge across the whole workforce.

The action for this goal was to deliver Courageous Conversations / Project ECHO workshops across the West Moreton region for all health professionals and unregistered care workers. As of now, 43 health professionals are booked across three Courageous Conversations workshop dates in late 2023 and early 2024.

Click to read the West Moreton Care Collaborative Report.