Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2013 Contents In today's complex and rapidly
changing aged care environment,
it is more critical than ever to keep
the focus on workforce education
as the key investment to ensure a
sustainable future for your organisation.
Importantly, workforce education
needs to focus on the holistic
development of each employee -- not just
on a specific knowledge and skill-set but
also on an attitude, motivation and spirit.
External and internal forces are driving
the creation of a superior workforce, and
some of the 'higher order' attributes we
need to be instilling in our people are
initiative, confidence and resilience. By
doing this you will unlock the unique
potential within each person.
So what exactly do you need to
do? The simple answer is to provide
leadership. And that entails several things:
1. Develop your education strategy:
Start with a review of your organisation's
mission or purpose. Where are you
going? What are you doing? How will you
deliver? What values frame the way your
organisation goes about its business?
What skills are necessary to achieve this?
2. Identify the subjects and detail of
your education program:
You need to scan the local environment
and look to the far horizon to identify the
issues that are impacting on your clients,
today and tomorrow. What are their needs
for services and support? What are the
barriers to effective delivery?
3. Inform your analysis, and
prioritise and focus your efforts more
Look at your staff, what are their skills,
capabilities and competencies? Do they
match the requirements you identified to
meet the needs of your clients? What are
Dementia education starts with
preparing the resources needed to
deliver training. Good training does
not happen by accident. Good trainers
achieve good outcomes and poor
trainers turn people off. If you want
staff to be motivated to provide good
care and service, it all starts with your
educators. They are the champions
developing your future champions, so
invest well in them.
When planning dementia education:
• Remember 'adult learning theory' --
everyone learns in different ways so
educate in different ways, using a
variety of mediums.
• Language and literacy issues impact
many people, so prepare for this
• Train for gain, not pain. Keep
training time to a minimum and don't
• Capacity building ONLY works where
you EMPOWER people to use their
new found capacities.
• A training needs analysis must happen at
both the organisational AND individual
level in order to capture requirements,
which is ALWAYS in the context of your
mission and client needs.
• It is leaders, not educators, who create
and sustain a learning culture in an
• When it comes to delivery, 'taking it to
the people' always works best. But do it
on their terms, in their environment.
• Experience is the best teacher, and
experiential learning happens from
the inside out. Learners need to have
an appropriate context to inform their
learning in order to 'feel it' and be moved
• Education is often about un-learning
something, beyond simply acquiring
new knowledge, sometimes we need to
qualify or disregard old learning or ways.
EDUCATION IMPACTS CARE
Education is a two-way relationship
between the trainer and the trainee. It's
built upon a platform of respect and trust
and, when put in context, allows the trainee
to learn from the trainer's experience.
Mentoring is another great way to
develop people. Mentors need to be
encouraging, empowering and facilitatory,
not tutors or directors. Mentors develop the
mentee's power to think and problem-solve
for themselves, not simply give knowledge
or information. Mentoring seeks to develop
a person's natural gifts and strengths.
Whatever education strategies and
programs you develop and implement,
your system needs to have an evaluation
component to ensure it learns, adapts
and evolves to overcome problems and
Education is key to impacting the way
service and care is delivered, and thereby
influencing the wellbeing of the people we
serve. Quality education = quality care.
Education nurtures growth.
When your education helps people
to develop as people, you create far
greater harmony and synergy in the care
environment. You provide meaning for
people at work, and strengthen their
capacity and readiness for any amount of
skill, process, or knowledge development
that your organisation will ever need.
Natalie Duggan is the head of vocational
education at HammondCare. She has
worked as an aged care facility manager,
trainer and dementia consultant. n
Quality education = quality care
Education is not a cost, it's an investment. And in today's
ever-changing aged care workplace environment, it's one
that is sure to pay off. Natalie Duggan explains the key
foundations that all dementia care education and training
programs should be built upon.
Australian Ageing Agenda's regular
dementia supplement is guest edited
by Colm Cunningham, director
of HammondCare's Dementia
Centre. For more information, email
54 | JANUARY -- FEBRUARY 2013 | AAA
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