New study examines special aged care needs of trauma survivors

New study examines special aged care needs of trauma survivors

19 May 2008

Looking after older survivors of genocide and mass trauma poses enormous challenges for Australia's aged care sector in the years ahead, says La Trobe University's Karen Teshuva.

Ms Teshuva heads a new study into this issue, initially focusing on survivors of the Jewish Holocaust and Cambodian Genocide – two groups now well represented in aged care statistics.

With government figures showing that seventy per cent of people entering Australia under humanitarian programs in the last two decades had experienced torture and trauma, this will be an area of on-going concern for aged care, she says.

Titled 'Caring for Older Survivors of Genocide or Mass Trauma', the project is being carried out by the University's Australian Institute for Primary Care in conjunction with Jewish Care Inc.

Project investigators Ms Teshuva and Dr Yvonne Wells are gathering information from aged care managers and direct care staff to document existing staff training and care practices.

They will also interview older survivors and their families to learn about their experience of care in residential and community aged care facilities.

Findings from the study will be used to develop and trial a specialised training program for aged care organisations.

'This will help the aged care sector to become more responsive to the needs of refugee communities in Victoria and ensure the dignity and comfort of their older people.'

Ms Teshuva says her earlier research revealed that for survivors to receive compassionate care, it is important to understand historical events and the uniqueness of each survivor's experience.

For interviews or further information, please contact Ms Teshuva, tel: +61 3 9479 3232




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