Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2014 Contents SPONSORED FEATURE
After 18 years working in the sector Westphal describes it as an
"amazingly rewarding profession" motivated by being able to assist
people with things they want to do and give them a choice in their
lives. "It's all about supporting people who want to stay at home
and it is great that the government is supporting their wishes." She
believes that the government's decision to introduce a consumer
directed care model in aged care is a great outcome for clients.
This trend for more choice, and increased support at home,
has been gathering momentum for the past few years - reflecting
the decision of those in the community who "want to stay in their
own homes for as long as possible."
It is comforting to know that the government has responded
to this by providing more packages, giving more people either the
choice to stay at home or move into an aged care residence. "By
the time people come to a provider like us they have higher and
more complex needs than they used to," notes Westphal.
Realistically for the people on a package, most will remain
at home, with many accessing short term residential respite
care as required. "We did not see as many people with high care
needs remain at home in the past, as the funding was not there
to support them, unless they were very lucky to receive one of
those very rare high care packages. There is still a need for more
of these packages, but it is getting better.
"When we speak about complexities, sometimes it comes
down to providing additional support for the carer to help them
to continue providing care at home." Arcare works with carer
respite centres, Alzheimers Australia and helps with planning
regular respite breaks to assist the carer.
"From my point of view it is about getting the message out
there that people have choices. Also, there are packages available,
and although demand outweighs supply, I always advise people to
get in early and register to see if they are eligible to receive one."
STAFF REAP THE BENEFITS
Expanding on their relationship centred approach and dedicated
staffing, Human Resources Manager, Dominic Calabro, is already
seeing positive results in both clinical outcomes and higher staff
Quantitative and qualitative data is showing the effectiveness
of the dedicated staffing program where it has been in operation.
"Through our six monthly evaluations we are now beginning to
see hard evidence that the model is working on many levels. At
one residence we have seen a 100 per cent reduction in pressure
injuries. We are also seeing higher staff retention rates which has
been as high as 100 per cent at some sites, and one residence has
seen a 27.9 per cent drop in sick leave after six months of dedicated
staffing. We are also receiving less
complaints and increased positive feedback
from families and staff which indicates that
we are meeting their expectations.
"Families have told us that they value
the opportunity to build these bonds with
us and other residents," continues Calabro.
"That we have made time to be in a position
where those relationships are nurtured is
very satisfying for all concerned." While it
is early days he is confident the information
being gathered and the outcomes to date
are consistent with studies on similar
staffing models internationally.
Arcare has a long history of looking
after their staff with hundreds of
employees having been with them for
five years or more. "Recognition plays
a big part in staff development as does
providing regular feedback and relevant
training and coaching opportunities.
In June this year we launched our
'Leadership Development Program'. This
program will help staff who are directly
responsible for overseeing others become
better managers, and give them the skills
to deal with some of the complexities that
can arise when you are in this position.
"Another program we are particularly
proud of is our 'Performance Management
and Development Program'. It's for the
managers of our residential communities
and will assist them with their ongoing
personal and professional development.
After an initial assessment they will be
given a year-long plan and their progress
will be regularly monitored and reviewed
by their line manager," Calabro says.
"This kind of devotion to growing our
staff will no doubt enhance the other
initiatives at Arcare and ensure that they
can successfully continue on their path of
IN TECHNOLOGY AND
The organisation is always investigating
ways to utilise new technologies to
support its staff and training initiatives.
One such tool is E-case, a user-friendly
software solution that helps to facilitate
management training around clinical care,
administration and management functions.
Real time electronic care plans
and lifestyle plans are maintained via
tablet technology providing staff with a
consistent information platform. "With the
assistance of daily work logs staff are able
to deliver timely, 5-star, quality care. This
information is also used to communicate
with families about their loved one's care,"
Colin Singh says.
"As the company grows you need the
technology to support your business and the
most effective way to engineer your service
is through smart technology," Singh adds.
With the launch of their E3 online
training system, Arcare staff will be
among the most highly qualified and
technologically savvy in the industry. As
Calabro explains, "with the easy access to
An Arcare Training
from an Arcare staff
38 | JULY -- AUGUST 2014 | AAA
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