Craig Gear

Older Persons Advocacy Group

OPAN Presenting Issues Report – A Guide to Quality

Thursday 13 October 2022

11:15am – 11:45am

Speaker Bio

Craig Gear OAM was appointed CEO of the Older Persons Advocacy Network in 2018, after serving as its chairperson. Craig has extensive experience in health service management and health consulting, previously serving as Board Chair at Seniors Rights Service and working in health care advisory practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. His background is in nursing, and he is passionate about connecting and improving the health system for all Australians


The Older Persons Advocacy Network provides over 20,000 instances of advocacy support to older people across Australia, who are accessing or eligible to access aged care, though our nine service delivery organisations. We have been doing this for over 25 years. Through our work we are aware of the key issues that older people face when accessing aged care and how the way providers engage with and respond to these issues can lead to both positive and negative outcomes for older people.

In 2020/2021 we released our first Presenting Issues Report. This report presented the common issues in aged care advocacy case work in 2020-21. The key themes that emerged in that report reinforced the findings and recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. However, in producing this report we acknowledged that older people and their families rarely seek advocacy support when they are happy with their aged care services. They engage the support of an advocate when they feel they have been treated unfairly, their concerns have not been understood or heard, or their human and aged care rights have been breached. Rather than seeing this report as a negative criticism of aged care providers and governments, this report should be viewed as an insight to the real-life experience of some older people and a useful lens into the service system that can help inform improvements into the future.

Our 2nd Presenting Issues Report is being released this year.  The information and advocacy support provided spans across the entire aged care system and addresses a range of rights-based issues. This presentation will reflect on the key themes from CHSP, Home Care, Residential Care and Flexible Aged Care and explore best practice in listening and responding to these issues. This will include tips on how to respond to complaints and how to use issues raised as part of a providers’ continuous quality improvement process. For example, many complaints to do with Home Care were a result of poor provider communication, especially regarding service changes. We will share how the issue was resolved, what constitutes good communication practices and how to build these into quality improvement.

At the end of this presentation providers will have a range of tips and strategies that they can implement to improve the culture of complaints and create an organisation that views complaints as an opportunity for continuous quality improvement

Learning from the presenting issues from OPAN’s advocacy work to help providers improve their service quality