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AGED CARE AND REHABILITATION INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM

Project Summary

The First Responder Community (FRC) [Military, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, Paramedic and Rescue individuals] is a registered not-for-profit charity whose aim is to provide a range of amenities, services, and equipment to First Responders that are aged or affected physically or mentally by their injuries.  This program is designed to provide all First Responders with facilities that will cater to their special needs in retirement and whilst in recovery.  We are seeking from Federal, State and Local Governments as well as individuals or businesses, donations, or Free Leases of suitable tracts of land for the purpose of constructing a variety of Aged, Well-being and other care facilities that specifically cater to the needs of individuals who serve or have served in the nation’s frontline services.   As land is donated or made available, the First Responder Community is raising funds via grants, donations and regular contributions from first responders, industry and organisations that support public safety to build and fit-out the new infrastructures.

Management

These facilities will be managed and run by experienced service professionals that have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the special needs of First Responders including the provision of full and part time physical and psychological nursing and residential care, these facilities would provide such high-value veterans with quality support and mobility services.

Introduction

There are hundreds of thousands of  frontline responders fighting conflicts, fires, crime or attending the millions of incidents each year involving injured or distressed citizens. Millions of lives are saved or influenced by these responders and billions of dollars are saved from the potential destruction of built and natural environments. Volunteers represent more than 60% of first responders who personally contribute upwards of $20,000 each annually in time, resources and cash to ensure Australia has a minimal manpower for public safety response.

Forgotten

In retirement however, much of the tragedy, toxins, horror and physical duress they have endured begin to take a traumatic toll on their lives and as they are considered a spent force for many in society they are subsequently forgotten and left to suffer in silence. As a result various charities have been established to fill the various gaps experienced under those jurisdictions.

All embracing FRC

The First Responder Community is an organisation that embraces all public emergency services with aims to consolidate fundraising efforts and standardise emergency equipment and practices across the Civil Defence Industry.

Provision of Aged Care and Wellbeing Facilities to First Responders

This program seeks to establish innovative infrastructures and capabilities that are designed to address the ‘gaps’ in services and support listed below:

  • The Federal government does not provide any aged, medical or after-care facilities specifically intended for veterans or retired law enforcement officers. However Veterans Affairs does provide a range of funding for approved military servicemen and women to self care.
  • Various State governments do not provide any aged, medical or after-care facilities for employed or volunteer, retired or injured law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics or rescue and emergency workers. In some cases state government insurance schemes will provide funding for some medical complaints.
  • Private and not-for-profit aged care facilities are not keeping up with demand, and investment in specialised first responder care is inadequate or non-existent. Demand for these services will continue to increase.
  • Existing service associations and charities are trying to provide other services (medical, legal, family support, lobbying, funding, etc.) but they are not equipped to engage in equipment acquisition and amenity programs for retired first responders.
  • Increasingly past volunteer First Responders are unable to get suitable insurance, medical services or access to aftercare amenities.
  • Previous undiagnosed illnesses and injuries caused by their services can be hard to prove without expensive litigation, FRC provides care and accommodation when required.

Why are special facilities needed?

  • First Responders attend numerous incidents that the majority of the public could never witness or envision, they see and do things that are so horrific, dangerous, stressful and strenuous that leave them with a lifetime latent trauma. They need facilities that are properly geared and equipped to respond to their needs as they arise with a high degree of knowledge of care.
  • First Responders have to deal with various types on individuals in distress, conflict, and injury and the immediate emotions of those individuals can often direct blame and retaliation on the first responders’ i.e. demonstrators blame and attack police for political decisions, crazed drug addicts stab and assault paramedics and hospital health workers with needles and other implements when being attended to, military veterans have been targeted because they have fought in conflicts against the attackers beliefs and many criminals seek revenge against law enforcement for being indicted and sentenced.
  • The next generation of potential First Responders and their families need to know that both government and industry have their back in times of trouble or they won’t enlist. All too often we hear of the abandonment of first responders in the findings of coroner’s inquests, media investigations and ‘Go Fund Me” cries for help.  What will we do if we can’t get First

Construction and ongoing maintenance would be tendered to private Australian firms through a standard bidding process.

Public Collaboration and Funding

Public involvement is a key element of this program. Funding the construction and ongoing maintenance of the facilities would be supported by First Responder individuals, philanthropic individuals, business and a wide range of institutions, including and not limited to:

  • Veteran Military associations
  • Police associations
  • Fire service associations
  • Ambulance and hospital associations
  • State Emergency Service organisations
  • Surf lifesaving organisations
  • Volunteer organisations
  • Health groups, Beyond Blue and community men’s sheds
  • Civic organizations
  • Media organisations
  • Women’s organisations
  • Scouting and youth organisations
  • Cadet organisations
  • First responder industry
  • Charitable organisations that support public safety
  • State and local governments

Ongoing Patient Care Funding

Most Residents will be recipients of some form of government funding for the duration of their retirement.  As this is a not-for-profit facility all monies received will be used for the enhancement of services and medical care.

Eligibility

First Responder residents would be eligible to enter, only after being referred by a First Responder Care Assessment Team.

Services to be offered

Each facility will provide professional medical and nursing care to day and permanent residents and administered by an organisation or institution with experience in this specialised field, accredited by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency and eligible to receive payment from Government for residents.

The facilities will provide the following mandated services:

  • Administration and resident documentation.
  • Well-maintained rooms provided with furnishings.
  • Cleaning services, including provision of laundry, bedding, and toiletries.
  • Meals that conform to the special dietary requirements of the resident.
  • Trained staff available 24 hours a day to provide emergency assistance.
  • Assistance with everyday activities such as bathing, eating, and dressing.
  • Assistance with mobility and transport.
  • Assistance with difficulties in communicating or understanding others.
  • Some treatments and procedures, including assistance with medication.
  • Diversional therapy, rehabilitation support and assistance accessing services.

These homes would be designated as “extra-service” homes, providing additional amenities and raising the quality and enjoyment of life for First Responder residents, with service and support not directly related to medical care. Amenities would include superior meals and décor; a fully equipped hairdressing salon; secure and attractive outdoor spaces accessible to residents; satellite TV, newspaper delivery; private meeting space, and guest rooms and parking spaces for visitors.

Benefits

For the Services

  • A public-private partnership benefiting aged First Responders provides a concrete example of the nation’s care and concern for those who serve. This will have a positive effect on the morale of the men and women who are serving now, and give young people an additional incentive to serve.
  • This effect will be particularly important in emergency services, a field whose members do not normally receive the same level of benefits available to veterans of the military.
  • Additionally, in the future the facilities could be used to provide care to people who had suffered permanent injury in the line of duty.

For the Economy

  • The building and operation of these homes would create opportunities for Australian firms and lead to job creation. Because the funding scheme would draw on various public and private sources, this project would generate a real addition to the funds used for capital investment and development.

For the Community

  • By expanding the availability of First Responder aged care, this project reduces the expense and waiting time for First Responders seeking placement in an aged care home.
  • Furthermore, it creates a model for cooperation between the Federal and local governments, non-profit funders, and for-profit firms that can be used to address many other challenges.

For the Federal and State Governments

  • No additional land cost and remains in the control of the Nation or States.
  • New Facilities will be provided by State and private funds
  • The program will receive bi-partisan, community and media support.

Next Steps

We propose that a new working group be formed and funded to evolve this proposal into a Detailed Business Case to present to Government, informing them of the cost and benefits of such a program.

First responders include all military, law enforcement, emergency response teams, firefighters, rescuers, coast watch, state emergency services, flying doctors, etc. that are either full time, part time employed or volunteers.