RACGP updates aged care clinical guidelines

Matt Woodley

15/01/2020 3:22:51 PM

The significant expansion includes practice points on elder abuse and caring for marginalised groups, including older LGBTQI people.

Collage of elderly people.
The new guidelines are expected to have a significant impact on patient care.

The RACGP aged care clinical guide (Silver Book) Part B also covers issues related to older people living with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, independent living in old age, and multiculturalism.
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon described the latest version of the guidelines as an important update, and said it is vital Australia’s ageing population has access to high-quality healthcare.
‘GPs have a critical role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of older people. They are at the frontline of care and we know they’ll be caring for older people more and more into the future,’ he said.
Statistics show that more than one in three GP–patient encounters are with people aged over 65, and the proportion of people aged over 65 will more than double in the near future.
‘We need a clear strategy for the future of general practice services so people can continue to access high-quality care.’
Associate Professor Morton Rawlin, Chair of the RACGP Silver Book Expert Advisory Group, said the expanded guidelines will have a significant impact on patient care.
‘This is the first edition of the Silver Book to include practice points on issues like elder abuse and for marginalised groups, such as older LGBTQI people and those living with disabilities,’ he said.
‘It’s a world class framework to guide GPs so older people get the care and support that is right for them.’
Associate Professor Rawlin added that the Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality Safety had crystallised contemporary issues in the sector, including the unique concerns of marginalised groups.
‘We know what needs to change,’ he said. ‘For instance, the World Health Organization estimates the rate of elder abuse in countries like Australia at between 2% and 14%.
‘We [also] know that the historical pathologising of older LGBTQI people’s bodies and relationships continues to adversely affect their health and wellbeing.
‘But there is a huge opportunity for GPs to make a difference – they have a central role to play in creating a more inclusive environment for all, and in doing so promoting health and wellbeing for everyone in our community.’
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Dr Janice Faye Sheringham   16/01/2020 5:00:35 PM

I have another issue for RACGP input in this space which recently came to light after the death, around midnight, of my mother in a local ACF. While her passing was not unexpected, given her long history of hypertension and IHD, her GP and his practice was uncontactable at that hour, so the facility staff felt they had to contact the Coroner’s Office about the death. Long story short, police (and others!) attended, found there were no concerns and told them if GP signed cert, all was well. When GP was contacted he initially said fine, but later retracted and reported death to Coroner WITHOUT VIEWING THE BODY NOR READING THE ACF NOTES!!! This meant funeral postponed, stress +++, and fluctuating arrangements for travelling relatives and working grandchildren. Coroner reviewed body(transported to Melbourne), decided there was NOTHING SUSPICIOUS in the sudden death, at night, of a 98 yo woman! Apparently occurring very frequently now, how to avoid?