Meeting the challenges for Catholic care in modern Australia

02/08/2010

Plans to expand Catholic health, community and aged care in Australia will be examined at a national gathering in Adelaide this month.

Catholic services – represented by Catholic Health Australia (CHA) – already provide care for one in 10 people in hospital and aged care, and one in three people who receive community care packages.

Now senior figures from major national Church organisations will meet in the City of Churches from 23 to 25 August to examine the challenges of operating health, community and aged care services in the modern world, and to chart a roadmap for expanding services over the next 10 years and beyond.

CHA’s annual National Conference – 10 Years From Now – marks the culmination of a year-long project to examine the governance of Catholic health, community and aged care organisations, and to propose new ideas for growing and sustaining Christ’s healing ministry in Australia.

“Catholic services have a long and proud history in this country, almost as long as the history of Australia itself,” CHA CEO Martin Laverty said. “But like many Church organisations, Catholic health, community and aged care groups in Australia have grown organically and individually.

“We’ve been examining whether in the modern world, and particularly in this era of health and aged care reform, there are ways in which we might strengthen the Ministry and improve the way in which we care for the marginalised and disadvantaged in our society.

“Early findings from our year-long inFORMATION project show there’s a very strong desire to grow in line with Catholic Mission, and most members agree collaboration could improve the ability of Catholic health, community and aged care services to deliver quality care.”

Preliminary findings also indicate that while palliative care and sub-acute services are particular strengths of Catholic health and aged care providers, these services could be expanded further.

“Only one in three Australians who could benefit from palliative care currently are able to access such services – this is a situation we would like to see redressed,” Mr Laverty said.

“Addressing the needs of the community also is a priority, for example through services targeted to Indigenous health and mental health. Leaders agree that services must focus on unmet need.”

The full results of the inFORMATION project – and its resulting action plan for the future of Catholic health, community and aged care in Australia – will be revealed at the CHA National Conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 23-25 August.

Other important issues to be examined at the Conference include:

  • Improving the health of Australia’s socioeconomically disadvantaged
  • Pastoral care and ethical challenges in a technological age
  • Building interfaith care connections
  • Catholic presence in mental health
  • Environmental sustainability for Catholic services

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