While there are a lot of differing opinions from those involved in the aged care sector, one thing that many nurses, carers and families tend to agree on, is having a chance to have their say or suggest how to make things better is important.

Caring for the elderly is a complicated process, and even though person-centered care is great tagline or ethos for an aged care facility or service, in reality, it’s a level of care that can be extremely hard to achieve.

Each individual elderly person has a varying degree of ailments, issues, wealth and independence, and the aged care industry is currently struggling to meet the needs of these people in a manner that is both timely and of the highest possible quality.

While the search for answers continues within government and peak body circles, the voices of those who walk the hallways, receive the care and support their older family members now have their opportunity to be heard and contribute to change.

Flinders University in Sth Australia will be holding a two-day forum across the 16th and 17th of February in a search for answers to some of the most challenging issues regarding ageing, the elderly and aged care facilities and services.

And they have thrown open the forum to anyone and everyone with a good idea, and there are even cash prizes involved for the best ideas.

The name of this two-day event is Care Hack, and HelloCare sat down with Care Hack creator Professor Jennifer Tieman to get to know her hopes for the event and the processes involved.

“This is the 1st time we’ve ever done anything like this. We’re a newly established  College of Nursing and Health Sciences, so we are interested to see how we can create new initiatives around care, around aging, social needs, and how we train and work with the community to address issues,” said Jennifer.

“We see CareHack as an opportunity to do something different and to get people from different backgrounds, different knowledge, and interests talking to each other. We ’re throwing them into a two-day think-tank to address the problems that we see in ageing Australia. And the wonderful thing is that these are people who have chosen to take part.”

Despite what you may think, the actual criteria for these ideas is extremely broad, and although there is obviously a screening process to ensure that the ideas being put forward are innovative and valid, Professor Tieman says that the process will welcome all great ideas regardless of size.

“People presenting ideas are required to submit a one-page brief before the event that describes their proposal and we have been absolutely delighted with the response so far. Some people are even teaming up as a group to come along and develop their ideas.

“We expect a range of ideas both big and small. Some might be as simple as a great way to connect elderly people better within the community and others may be more intricate and complex ideas dealing with IT systems or Illness treatment procedures.

“The main thing is that we don’t want to tell people what to think or how to think, we want people to tell us their story and what they have been thinking about. Some people may have had these ideas in the backs of their minds for years after seeing something that needs improvement.”

The concept of a forum for ideas is by no means a new one, but the idea of inviting the public to participate is definitely unique, especially when you consider the importance of the issues.

Jennifer expects to see a variety of participants attend the Care Hack event and hopes that they use this time to network and share their ideas with like-minded individuals who share the same hopes for improving systems and services surrounding ageing.

“When you look at magazines like HelloCare, you see that your audience has ideas, but they just don’t know how to get them into the system and bring about change. This is one of those opportunities to be heard and we are hoping to take these people’s ideas and look at ways to share them with the broader community.”

“We look forward to hearing a number of great ideas and having a number of great conversations, but the objective is to ensure that these ideas amount to more than just being great ideas. We want to see change.”

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