Health promotion and reablement until the edge of life

Jo Boylan

A new book, Healthcare Insights: The Voice of the Consumer; the Provider and the Work Design, has been launched by leading aged care advocate Jo Boylan and work design strategist Dr Sara Pazell.

The book calls for health promotion and reablement “until the edge of life” and compiles stories from various contributors, including a doctor, emergency department nurse, work cover specialist, and several vulnerable people and families, highlighting their experiences and learnings in the aged care sector.

Jo Boylan, CEO of Clayton Church Homes in South Australia, highlights the importance of improving healthcare and care for older people.

“In the past two decades there have been great strides to advance older people’s rights, including changes from the recent Royal Commission reforms,” she said.

The book aims to challenge stereotypes and encourage readers to ask different questions about healthy ageing. Ms Boylan and Dr Pazell draw on their professional and personal experiences, having met at university while studying nursing and occupational therapy, respectively.

“However, there is still inequality for older people in accessing health promotion. We need investment for re-enablement right up until the edge of life – supporting people to a good death.”

Jo Boylan, CEO of Clayton Church Homes in South Australia

The World Health Organisation (WHO) supports this approach, stating that a whole-system and service approach focusing on the needs and rights of older people is essential for healthy ageing. WHO emphasises that care based on functional ability improves well-being and ensures timely access to exercise.

Ms Boylan shared a poignant story from the book about Dr Pazell’s father, John, who, after a significant health event, was initially assessed for residential care without rehabilitation. With advocacy and reablement, John was walking again within a week.

Ms Boylan also highlighted a success story from Clayton Church Homes, where a woman returned home after a year in residential care following a leg fracture. With the help of an exercise physiologist, she regained her independence at 86.

Ms Boylan is calling on the government to invest in healthy ageing and reablement, noting the benefits of reduced wounds, hospital transfers, and increased functionality for older people.

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