The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is a national network comprised of nine state and territory organisations that have been successfully delivering advocacy, information and education services to older people in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote Australia for over 25 years.
Older Persons Advocacy Network’s free services support older people and their representatives to address issues related to Commonwealth funded aged care services. Older Persons Advocacy Network is funded by the Australian Government’s National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) and aims to provide a national voice for aged care advocacy and promote excellence and national consistency in the delivery of advocacy services under the Program.
- Advocacy services are rights based, always ensuring that consumers, families and providers are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
- Advocacy services are independent of service delivery and free from any real or perceived conflict of interest.
- Advocacy services ensure that consumers are placed at the centre of the process and the advocate acts at the consumer’s direction.
- Advocacy agencies ensure that their services are accessible to consumers and potential consumers by ensuring strategies are in place to overcome the barriers to access experienced by special needs groups.
- Advocacy services are available to consumers at all points along the aged care journey, from enquiries and initial contact with the aged care service system, through screening and assessment services and home care, to all stages of residential care.
- Advocacy information and education enables informed, supported decision making by consumers of aged care services throughout their journey within the aged care system.
We support consumers and their families and representatives
Older Persons Advocacy Network organisations support consumers and their families and representatives to effectively access and interact with Commonwealth funded aged care services and have their rights protected.
- Residential aged care
- Home Care Packages
- Commonwealth Home Support Programme services (CHSP)
- The Commonwealth Continuity of Support (CoS) Programme
- Commonwealth-funded dementia services
- Flexible care services, including:
- The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program
- Multi-purpose services
- Transition care
- Short-term restorative care.
OPAN organisations aim to ensure older people, their families and representatives:
- can effectively interact with the aged care system, including My Aged Care and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner (ACCC)
- can better transition between aged care services
- are enabled and empowered to make informed decisions about the care they receive
- can exercise their right to choice in accessing and receiving aged care services
- have their aged care rights better understood, recognised and upheld
- have their aged care needs more optimally met due to the intervention of advocacy support
- are better informed about the care options available to them
- are supported to increase their capacity to self-advocate
- are supported to resolve problems or complaints with aged care providers in relation to the aged care services they receive
- are supported with information and advice about their aged care rights and responsibilities
- are supported to address issues that impact their ability to live in their own homes, with the aim of preventing premature admission to aged care facilities and focusing on wellness and enablement.
OPAN organisations achieve this through the following program activities:
- the provision of independent and individually focused advocacy support to address specific issues identified by aged care consumers and/or their representatives
- the provision of information and referral to support eligible older people and their representatives
- the delivery of education sessions to eligible older people and their representatives, promoting aged care consumer rights and responsibilities
- the delivery of education sessions to aged care providers promoting consumer and aged care provider rights and responsibilities.
Informing Systemic Reform
Older Persons Advocacy Network organisations’ individual advocacy services support older people across the nation to raise their service and system related concerns whilst navigating the many reforms occurring within the aged care sector.
Older Persons Advocacy Network organisations analyse the trends which emerge through individual advocacy and use this valuable information to inform systemic reforms.
Older Persons Advocacy Network’s work informs systemic reforms at the local, state and national level by regularly engaging with key decision makers, contributing to government consultation discussions and participating in relevant stakeholder networks and forums.
Older Persons Advocacy Network actively participates in the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA), a representative body of peak national organisations in aged care, including consumer groups, providers, unions and health professionals, working together to determine a more positive future for aged care in Australia.
OPAN’s representation on NACA enables us to bring the voice of our advocacy clients to national policy discussions and ensure reforms consider the experiences and needs of the most vulnerable consumers, including those living with special needs, disability, dementia or mental health issues.
Older Persons Advocacy Network is a not for profit company limited by guarantee.Older Persons Advocacy Network receives funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health for the delivery of the National Aged Care Advocacy Program.
Older Persons Advocacy Network delivers the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) through 9 state and territory based member organisations which combined employ over 50 experienced staff across 21 locations. Go to our OPAN Network page for more detailed information.
- ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) – Australian Capital Territory
- Advocacy Tasmania Inc. – Tasmania
- Advocare – Western Australia
- Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia – Queensland
- Aged Care Advocacy Service, CatholicCare – Northern Territory
- Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS) – South Australia
- Elder Rights Advocacy (ERA) – Victoria
- Seniors and Disability Rights Service of Darwin Community Legal Centre – Northern Territory
- Seniors Rights Service – New South Wales
To understand more about the individual Older Persons Advocacy Network organisations, go to our OPAN Network page
OPAN Board of Directors
Older Persons Advocacy Network has established an experienced Board of Directors representing of each of the Older Persons Advocacy Network Members.
The Board of Directors is committed to overseeing enhancements to the existing National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) – service delivery and increasing the national consistency of the Program.
In 2017-18, the Board of Directors will establish a consumer co-design reference group to ensure NACAP service improvements reflect consumer priorities.
To contact the Older Persons Advocacy Network Board of Directors please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is overseen by a CEO responsible for coordinating the integration of the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) across the nine state and territory service delivery organisations. The inaugural OPAN CEO, Lewis Kaplan was appointed in October 2017.
Lewis has over 35 years’ experience in the non-government sector, including over 20 years in CEO roles in peak consumer, aged and health organisations. He has governance, management, policy, and advocacy expertise across a range of sectors including aged and community care, primary health care, public health, health promotion, community development and international health development. Within most of his CEO positions, Lewis has played an effective leadership role in creating strong, collaborative national organisations within a federation model. Lewis is also the Company Secretary for the OPAN Board of Directors.