The reason we have taken this approach to include the rider ‘for Older Persons’ is simply to bring a focus point to what could otherwise be an unmanageably large area of interest.
We plan to expand once we have developed a methodology.
We also asked participants to make suggestions concerning a work plan for the Group. I also met with a number of people at the ISQua stand in Geneva and discussed what topics the SIG might address. Not surprisingly there was a diverse range of comments. It became clear from the discussions that concepts of care and services and the relative importance of the elements of care and services are not uniform across the world.
At the moment we are considering the comments and some earlier thoughts put together in conjunction with the ISQua secretariat so we can develop a plan of action for 2013. We will circulate the outcomes to participants early in 2013. My preference is to focus on promoting quality in the aspects of care that relate to daily living with a lesser focus on clinical care which is an area that is well researched and publicised at country level.
There has been a growth in international interest in promoting and measuring quality in social care (particularly in care homes). Users of social care services, particularly older citizens are increasingly users of healthcare services and in some countries the distinction between healthcare and social care can be quite blurred at service delivery level, particularly where the person resides in an institution. It seems that, in terms of priorities, while developing countries are building healthcare systems, the developed countries have social care as the new frontier’.
Social care, in its many guises is a very large sector in developed countries and a significant consumer of government and private funding.
Despite the evidence that users of social care services (as proposed for this special interest group) have a strong concern about the aspects of care and services that influence their quality of life relatively limited research has been undertaken vis a vis research in healthcare. Much of the research does not engage with the topics that older citizens report as being important to them.
What is social care?
Social care can have a very broad definition and has different meanings around the world. We plan to commence ‘small’ and grow with experience.
ISQua has adopted the definition of social care for our purposes as “the professional provision of care, protection, support, welfare and advocacy for vulnerable or dependent clients, individually or in groups. This is achieved through the planning and evaluation of individualised and group programmes of care, which are based on needs, identified where possible in consultation with the clients and delivered through day-to-day shared life experiences. All interventions are based on established best practice and in-depth knowledge of lifespan development” (https://staffweb.itsligo.ie/gateway/asp/whatis.asp).
For the purpose of this group ‘older persons’ is the group of people who are considered ‘older persons’ under the various United Nations principles and statements.
The work of this special interest group is a journey. Our first efforts are directed toward improving the quality of care and services for older persons who live in institution variously known as nursing homes, hostels and care homes etc.
We have taken this approach to include the rider ‘for Older Persons’ simply in order to bring focus to what could otherwise be an unmanageably broad area of interest.
What is the Quality Social Care for Older Persons Special Interest Group?
This is ISQua’s newest special interest group. Since its inception ISQua has developed an enviable record in the area of promoting quality and safety in healthcare.
The Board has recognised that the world is rapidly aging and that frail, vulnerable older people have needs for care and services in addition to those that are directly related to their health and provided by health care systems.
The Quality Social Care for Older Persons special interest group aims to bring together the diverse group of people, professions and organisations that are engaged in the delivery of care and services to frail, vulnerable older persons. Those groups include social care providers and managers, consumer/advocacy organisations operating in social care, government regulators, accrediting/3rd party performance evaluation bodies, researchers and academics and policy makers.
What are the group's objectives?
To promote quality through sharing, discussion and researching evidence based practice with a focus of quality of life for older persons who are users of social care services.
To create a forum for those existing and potential members of ISQua who have an interest in promoting quality in social care.
How will we go it?
To advocate for better quality of life outcomes for older persons by promoting quality and safety in social care internationally in all sectors, among politicians, senior government officials, industry, the media, health and aged care managers, educators, providers, consumers and purchasers of social care;
To develop ISQua position statements and policies on social care for older persons;
To raise awareness of issues surrounding social care for the older persons;
To liaise with key stakeholders in the development and implementation of the special interest groups purpose;
To identify appropriate projects to support and advocate for better quality of life outcomes for older persons receiving social care services;
How is the group organised?
The ISQua Board has appointed Mark Brandon (AU) as the inaugural convenor and chair of the organising committee until May 2014. Participants will elect the next convenor.
There will be an organising committee appointed by the Board for one year from 1 January 2013. Organising committee members will be elected by participants from 1 January 2014.
The overall membership of the special interest group will be known as participants. Any person with an interest in social care will be able to register as a participant.
There will be no participation fee initially and participants will include persons and organisations that are not members of ISQua. ISQua will seek sponsors to support the special interest group.
We will seek partnerships with other international bodies and organisations that have an interest in the health, safety and wellbeing of older persons.