Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA May-Jun 2017 Contents The Brief
NEWS n TALKING POINTS n WORLD WATCH
Initiative tackles working conditions
Greater job satisfaction leads to better care
outcomes, project shows.
THE QUALITY OF care provided to aged care consumers depends on the
quality of working conditions in an organisation, new research confirms.
A project involving industr y and researchers has identified the key “fault
lines” in working conditions across the sector and demonstrates how these
directly impact care outcomes.
The partners developed and trialled a series of inter ventions that
successfully enhanced working conditions in both residential and community
care, which are now being made freely available for providers to use.
The Quality Jobs Quality Care toolkit gives providers a structured process to
implement and review small changes that can improve conditions for their staff.
Among the inter ventions were the use of specialist dementia care teams,
a care worker mentoring program and the use of “learning shifts”.
The University of South Australia partnered with Flinders and RMIT
universities and industr y partners HammondCare, Brightwater, Helping
Hand and United Voice in the three-year project.
Given direct care workers are the majority of the aged care workforce,
helping aged care organisations to provide quality jobs and career pathways
was critical, said Professor Sara Charlesworth, one of the lead investigators.
Among the key issues that workers raised were low pay, not enough time
to provide quality care, and a lack of access to training.
These issues informed the workplace inter ventions that were then trialled
by the aged care providers participating in the project. n
Go to qualityjobsqualitycare.com.au
residential and home
care welcome common
AGED CARE PROVIDERS are largely
positive about the proposed new aged
care quality framework, which from July
2018 will see a single set of standards
governing residential, home care,
transition and Aboriginal flexible
Providers said they saw merit in the
standards’ flexibility and reduced red tape.
But they stress the government must
assure there is an independent assessment
and compliance regime.
The draft standards and three options
for streamlining the assessment of
provider performance were released for
feedback in March.
Resthaven CEO Richard Hearn told
AAA he saw merit in the emphasis given
to governance as a standard for the
Amana Living’s general manager of
healthcare and risk Tim Nayton said
the new standards would ensure his
organisation’s ser vices across different
settings could be assessed against
Consumers would be better
informed about the quality and
performance of services available to
them, Mr Nayton added.
IRT Care CEO Craig Hamer said he
supported the proposed framework’s
intent to minimise duplication with
other regulator y bodies and potentially
other accreditation schemes that covered
Integration and definition of a quality
system was an important area that
required more consideration, he said.
However, Professor Marita McCabe,
director of the Institute for Health
& Ageing at the Australian Catholic
University, told AAA she was concerned
about the standard’s numerous references
to protecting the “safety” of residents
given the push in recent years on
empowering seniors and facilitating
This focus on safety was a disconnect
with the standards’ other references to
more contemporary concepts such as
consumer dignity and autonomy,
she said. n
Census positive on workforce
But facilities continue to increasingly rely on
care workers, survey shows.
THE RESIDENTIAL SECTOR’S workforce has grown substantially, with
current recruitment and retention approaches “working well,” a key sur vey
The total number of workers across residential and community care
increased 4 per cent since the last sur vey in 2012 to more than 366,000
staff, according to the latest Aged Care Workforce Census and Sur vey,
released in early April.
The snapshot showed the total residential workforce grew by 17 per cent
since 2012, employing more than 235,000 workers.
The number of direct care workers increased by 5 per cent in residential
aged care to more than 153,000 workers, but it fell 7 per cent in home care
and home support, to 86,463 workers.
Echoing earlier sur veys, the 2016 snapshot reported that residential
facilities continue to increasingly rely on personal care workers to provide
direct care to residents.
Personal care workers remained the largest group in the direct care
workforce (70 per cent) and continued to grow “both numerically and as a
proportion of the residential aged care workforce,” the snapshot said.
While the proportion of registered nurses stayed unchanged at 15 per cent
of the workforce, the share of enrolled nurses decreased from 12 per cent to
10 per cent.
The latest sur vey showed a reduction in casual employment in the aged
In residential care, 10 per cent of direct care workers were on a casual or
contract arrangement in 2016, down from 19 per cent in 2012.
However, the sur vey also found indications of “potentially under-utilised
labour supply” as 30 per cent of workers wanted to increase their hours,
compared to 14 per cent who wanted to reduce them.
When asked about job satisfaction, aged care workers were least satisfied
with their pay and with the time available for resident care. n
8 | MAY–JUNE2017
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