Ageing and life-course

Perth framework for age-friendly community-based primary health care

General principles guiding age-friendly, community-based primary health care

It is recognized that the organisation and delivery of community-based primary health care services depend on national health care systems and their individual settings. However, the following General Principles are applicable to any community-based primary health care setting and provide guidance to all providers of formal community-based primary health services; such health care services include, among others, general practitioners, local health care centres, and community-based government clinics.

Age-friendly community-based primary health care should incorporate the following general principles:

1. In the areas of information, education, and training:

1.1 All health care centre staff should receive basic training in age, gender, and culturally sensitive practices that address knowledge, attitude and skills

1.2 All clinical staff in the health care centre should receive basic training in core competencies of elder care

1.3 Health care centres should provide age, gender and culturally appropriate education and information on health promotion, disease management and medications for older persons as well as their informal carers in order to promote empowerment for health

1.4 Health care centre staff should review regularly the use of all medications, including complementary therapies such as traditional medicines and practices

2. In the area of community-based primary health care management systems:

2.1 Health care centres should make every effort to adapt their administrative procedures to the special needs of older persons, including older persons with low educational levels or with cognitive impairments

2.2 Health care centre systems should be cost sensitive in order to facilitate access to needed care by low income persons

2.3 Health care centres should adopt systems that support a continuum of care both within the community level and between the community and secondary and tertiary care levels

2.4 Health care centres should put into place mechanisms that facilitate and coordinate access to social and domiciliary care services

2.5 All record keeping systems in health care centres should support continuity of care by keeping records on community-based, secondary and tertiary care as well as on the provision of social services for their clients

2.6 All relevant stakeholders, including older persons, should be part of participatory decision-making mechanisms regarding the organisation of the community-based care services

3. In the area of the physical environment:

3.1 The common principles of Universal Design should be applied to the physical environment of the health care facility whenever practical, affordable and possible

3.2 Safe and affordable transport to the health care centre should be available for all, including older persons, whenever possible, by using a variety of community-based resources, including volunteers

3.3 Simple and easily readable signage should be posted throughout the health care centre to facilitate orientation and personalise providers and services

3.4 Key health care staff should be easily identifiable using name badges and name boards

3.5 The health care centre should be equipped with good lighting, non-slip floor surfaces, stable furniture and clear walkways

3.6 The health care centre facilities, including waiting areas, should be clean and comfortable throughout

These general principles can be adapted to each health care centre and provider setting in order to ensure responsiveness and sensitivity to the community served.