Changing models of aged care impact future workforce needs

Changing models of care are impacting on future workforce needs in the aged care sector, according to HammondCare's evidence to a Senate inquiry into the aged care workforce.

Speaking to the Future of Australia’s Aged Care Sector Workforce hearing in Canberra today, General Manager of Residential Care, Angela Raguz, said more innovative models were empowering the frontline aged care workforce.

“New models are emerging which challenge the traditional boundaries delivered in residential care – going forward we need a multi-skilled workforce, and any future system should not stifle innovation and must remain flexible,” Ms Raguz said.

“A one size fits all workforce model will deliver a one size fits all aged care system – and this does not reflect changing aged care needs. Instead, innovative models, which boost staff satisfaction and outcomes should be encouraged.”

Increase aged and palliative care training

Ms Raguz said it was also important to establish a skills base for registered nurses (RN) in aged care so they could develop a speciality in their own right.

“Undergraduate nursing courses should focus on dementia and palliative care, giving graduate nurses the opportunity to specialise in aged care. At the moment, many nurses complete their degrees with minimal training on aged care and dementia.

"This will help to redress the negative perceptions of aged care nursing by recognising the skills and leadership that nurses can bring to bear in the aged care environment. Now is the time to focus on this issue given that the demand for aged care nurses and carers will increase by 40 per cent over the next five years.”

Ms Raguz said one in 10 Australians over 65 live with dementia and it is the second leading cause of death, yet remains a non-compulsory subject and appears to be largely unrecognised in the competencies for nursing training at universities around the country.

HammondCare provided a written submission to the Senate inquiry earlier this year.

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