La Trobe leads on aged care training

La Trobe University has launched a new education and training package to improve the skills and knowledge of staff who care for thousands of people living in residential aged care facilities across Australia.

Experts from La Trobe’s Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care (ACEBAC) have designed Recognising and Reporting Changes in Aged Care Residents’ Health to address gaps and inconsistencies in staff education and training.

“There are approximately 235,000 people living in permanent residential aged care in Australia and the majority of direct care is provided by Personal Care Assistants,” Dr Michael Bauer, the lead researcher on the project, said.

“Providing care to elderly residents in residential aged care homes can be challenging and complex for those on the frontline.

“It’s crucial that staff have the right level of knowledge and training to recognise health issues when they arise and take appropriate and timely action.

“Having staff who are adequately trained to respond to the health needs of residents could reduce further health complications and result in fewer hospital admissions.”

Dr Deirdre Fetherstonhaugh, the director of ACEBAC, said the recent findings of a Senate Inquiry into the future of Australia’s aged care sector workforce highlighted the need for improvements.

“The Senate Committee found that the quality and consistency of aged care staff training varies considerably,” Dr Fetherstonhaugh said.

“Aged care courses vary in length, entry requirements and on-the-job training opportunities and this result in gaps in skills and knowledge.

“Our education and training package aims to provide consistent and high level training that can be delivered to existing and new staff.”

The training takes around 10 hours to complete and consists of eight modules. It looks at what happens to the body during the ageing process, how to recognise changes in residents’ health and wellbeing and how to report the changes.

Media Contact Anastasia Salamastrakis 0428 195 464