Aged-care charter presented to parliament.
Subject: Caregivers (Political aspects)
Caregivers (Compensation and benefits)
Caregivers (Laws, regulations and rules)
Pub Date: 10/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: Oct, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 9
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs; 280 Personnel administration; 930 Government regulation; 940 Government regulation (cont); 980 Legal issues & crime Advertising Code: 94 Legal/Government Regulation Computer Subject: Government regulation
Organization: Organization: New Zealand Nurses Organisation
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 271050275
Full Text: Several hundred caregiver members and staff from NZNO and the Service and Food Workers' Union (SFWU) presented nearly 11,000 copies of a charter calling for quality care for older New Zealanders at Parliament at the end of last month (pictured right). The presentation was made the day before the International Day of Older Persons on September 30.

The charter calls for minimum safe staffing levels, fair pay for aged-care workers, nationally consistent training and a guarantee that public funding be used transparently. Politicians from Labour and the Green Parties accepted the petition, guaranteeing their commitment to work to achieve the charter demands.

Speaking on behalf of caregivers, SFWU member Kristine Bartlet said she performed the most intimate of care for people who could no longer care for themselves. "I show these people the respect they deserve, but my employer doesn't respect my work by paying me just above the minimum wage. It's my love and concern for the residents that get me out of bed in the morning to come to work."

Caregiver and NZNO member from Harbourview in Podrua, Janine Kidd, called on the politicians to listen to what the public, the families, the residents, and the workers were saying, and address the problems in aged care. "The pay we receive is just not enough for the responsibilities required in the job."

* Intervening early for Alzheimer's Disease

A report released on World Alzheimer's Day last month claims over 26,000 New Zealanders may have dementia and not know it. According to the 2011 World Alzheimer Report, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are grossly underdiagnosed and under-treated. Only 40 percent of dementia cases are recognised and documented in countries like New Zealand. There are current[y over 44,000 people with dementia in New Zealand and this is set to double every 20 years.

The report shows there are interventions that are effective in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, there is a strong economic argument in favour of earlier diagnosis and timely intervention. Drugs and psychological interventions for people with early-stage dementia can improve cognition, independence and quality of life, the report states.

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The report recommends every country has a national dementia strategy that promotes early diagnosis and a continuum of care thereafter. Alzheimers New Zealand says stigma and lack of public understanding of dementia may contribute to people not seeking help early. A nationwide awareness campaign will be launched in New Zealand next year with the intention of achieving exactly that. The 2011 World Alzheimer Report is available at www.alz.co.uk/worldreport2011.

* Needs assessment booklet

A booklet telling people how to get a needs assessment and access home support services has been sent to all GPs, district health boards and other organisations that help support older New Zealanders. Produced by the Ministry of Health, the booklet has been developed with Age Concern, Carers NZ and the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services. Currently the government is supporting 25,000 people in aged residential care, with around 75,000 people receiving home support at some time each year.

A copy of the new booklet is available at www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/needsassessment-support-older-people?Open.

* Sleep and dementia study

The Sleep/Wake Research centre at Massey University has begun a study aimed at improving the sleep of people with dementia and their caregivers. Study leader Rosie Gibson says sleep disturbances associated with dementia are the result of accelerating ageing in the circadian body clock and the mechanisms through which it regulates the sleep/wake cycle. Five pairs of people with dementia and their caregivers have been recruited for the research. Gibson hopes to enlist the help of another 30 pairs before June next year. She has also devised an educational manual offering tips to help people with dementia and their caregivers get a good night's sleep, which she sees as a step to help people cope with the disease when living at home.

* Human Rights Commission inquiry

The Human Rights Commission inquiry into equal employment opportunities issues in the agedcare sector is currently underway (see August issue, p11). As well as holding public and individual meetings with health professionals and service users, the Commission is also seeking written submissions until the end of December. The electronic submission process can be found at www.neon.org.nz/agedcareinquiry/or email emilias@hrc.co.nz.

* Oral health and older persons' health

The Ministry of Health is to commission a study into older people's oral health. The research will focus on people aged 65-plus who are living in residential aged-care facilities and older people living in their communities who used home-based assistance. The research has been prompted by the link between the health of people's teeth and their general health.
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