There’s no denying there is an awful lot of pressure on Australian aged care providers, advocates and professionals in Australia right now. The implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations as well as an innate desire from the industry to honour and support the Baby Boomers and beyond to age well can be overwhelming at times. Shifting to customised, values-based care is incredibly important. It is also very involved.
The introduction of better enabled and integrated end-of-life services is another transformative moment for Australia. For too long, Australians have died without the proper blueprints and documentation in place to truly advocate for their needs when they lose capacity to speak for themselves. Many marginalised Australians have died without inclusive and reflective palliative care experiences.
And the families and the individuals we service within aged care and end-of-life care sectors have experienced everything from frustration to trauma through increased barriers, unnecessary or inappropriate treatments and alienation as a result.
Yet we as an industry servicing and integrating these two vital components are doing so much. We often don’t stop to reflect on how much we have achieved.
This is why ExSitu chooses to speak out the way we do. As a community of professionals, we’re changing Australian aged care and end-of-life from within. And we need to remember that fact. Here’s how
Telling the industry stories
On Substack and via co-founder Rebecca Glover’s personal LinkedIn, ExSitu provides a monthly newsletter. But unlike other start-ups or businesses, our newsletter plumbs the depth of industry. We talk from the heart about the conditions, the challenges and the moments that have defined our journey.
We’re proud of the fact we tell a sort of snapshot of that month for people working and experiencing aged care. And we feel more confident with doing that rather than making it a moment about sharing products or booking new clients.
In marketing, that’s kind of weird.
But we also understand that it’s what we need right now as we transform both the aged care and end-of-life sectors. And as disability and other health sectors similarly follow suit.
We do this for a few reasons:
We all need to reflect more
We believe in reflective practice of a way of reducing stress. We’re often overwhelmed by our TO DO lists. We rarely turn around as professionals to take stock on how far we’ve come. With the legislative pressure as well as the cultural change required, it’s vital to see what we have achieved.
We value transparency
The mystery doesn’t help public perception. In marketing, there can be a focus on making sure that everyone looks very in control and beyond reproach. But we all know this shiny approach doesn’t provide the realness required to build trust. We’re working on some very complex problems and overcoming some fairly long held perceptions about ageing and death.
There is a lot of focus in the news about aged care that is negative. We still have a stigma within society that prohibits genuine discussion about disability, loss of capacity, ageing and end-of-life. We face off with everything from journalism through to male stoicism every day as care providers and practitioners.
We all need a beacon
Our narrative newsletter began as an experiment into seeing whether we could cut through the marketing noise. It continues because it brings all kinds of industry professionals to our comments section to relieve stress, share their stories and feel less alone.
As an industry, it feels dark at times. Really dark. But when we come together to honestly discuss aged care in Australia, care planning and working with values to inform individualised care, we are given the opportunity to celebrate what we do. All while educating the public and normalising the conversation between professionals and clients alike.
By lifting the curtain, ExSitu wants to highlight what we’re doing to change as an industry. And to move away from disingenuous papering over of cracks to help people understand what is going on.
Raising up our allies
Every Friday, we put up a post on our social media on LinkedIn and Facebook that is our Friends on a Friday post. It’s our little nod to the various organisations and professionals we intersect with.
It might seem small to profile a healthcare start-up or extoll the virtues of organisations we come into contact with. We’re also well aware that social media at times can feel like all peacock and no peahen.
But at ExSitu, we believe sincerely in community over competition. Raising up other professionals, organisations and the people that make impact and difference in aged care and end-of-life and associated services matters.
We view this from the perspective of the clients on the outside looking in.
Sure, we all know the names in the industries, what everyone does and who supplies who if we’ve been on the floor long enough.
But what about the people who haven’t?
Because we’re dealing with topics and services the every day person tends to shy away from, we have to think about visibility as part of the process.
Plus, we aim to normalise new approaches and new technology. We’re a start-up bringing values to care planning via cloud technology. We know how many times that idea has made eyebrows crease. And that’s why we try and pull up other start-ups, ideas and innovations that might not necessarily be the usual models.
Our approach to end-of-life care and aged care delivery is changing. That means there will be new faces, different technologies and approaches that the industry has to adjust to. So, by doing our part to raise up these friends and innovators, we’re not only creating a transparent scene. We’re helping crack open your networks a little more and help you find the assistance you need.
All by highlighting who they are and why you benefit on a given Friday.
With changes comes a whole lot of learning. For industries already stretched and doing so much, it’s nice to have places to go that are speaking your language. Who open up to you about your fears, worries and your achievements. And who get why sometimes, it feels like there’s more to change and do with every passing day.
Also, we have to understand that we’ve been talking to ourselves so long, we might have forgotten to people a bit.
Australian aged care and end-of-life can be a little insular at times. It’s not our fault. We’re often singing to each other because we’re focussed on solving big problems.
And sometimes, that means we focus on each other a little too much. That’s when insider knowledge and jargon can start to form a wall.
We speak a language and understand our challenges well. But our clients don’t.
To a person navigating end-of-life or aged care for the very first time, the journey seems overwhelming. The choices seem endless. And the ways those choices relate to the person needing the care in real terms isn’t always immediately apparent.
So, by choosing to educate people and providers through our blogs, we aim to open the door to better aged care and end-of-life literacy across the entire sector.
Small changes make the whole
We’re not claiming we have this all figured out by any stretch of the imagination. But we invite you to participate with us. Share your stories and your concerns so we can turn them into discussions on social media. Introduce yourself and your favourite allies so we can get to know you and raise you up. Ask your questions about care plans, aged care, end-of-life or life in a start-up in the care field so we can help you with blogs. Join us in advocating for change via newsletters, social media and more.
Together, we can help the public understand the changes we’re making in aged care and end-of-life. We can also share the knowledge and support each other while we make that change a reality.