Improving the aged care workforce

Improving workforce development within the aged care sector is the focus for Griffith’s Research Centre for Clinical and Community Practice Innovation following a $520,000 federal grant.
Enabling the Centre to work alongside key providers, the Training and Research Aged Care Services (TRACS) grant is aligned with a recent federal government
announcement to inject $10.2 million into building a better workforce for the sector.
“We already know that Australia has an ageing population and therefore the workforce demand within this sector is only set to grow,” said program leader Dr Lorraine Venturato.
“The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, has stated that by 2050 we expect more than one in 20 working Australians to be an aged care worker and that we need these workers to be as highly skilled as possible.
“Unfortunately, aged care currently has an image problem as well as an ageing workforce and many young people do not see this sector as a highly desired area
to work in. We hope to change their focus by demonstrating viable aged care careers that have creativity and innovation at their heart.”
To achieve this, the project team will focus on using innovative education methods such as engaging students from diverse backgrounds in collaborative projects with older people and aged care staff.
“We will also be looking at using creative outputs such as photo-documentary projects on topics such as youth and death and dying to engage students, aged care staff and older people in conversations about care and quality of life,” said Dr Venturato.

“The project is also aiming to encourage a closer relationship between the university and the aged care industry through a virtual community that brings clinicians and researchers with an interest in dementia care together.”

Dr Venturato said that her and co-lead Professor Wendy Moyle will be working with key aged care providers such as RSL Care to assess their employment requirements and how these can be enhanced.
Part of this will include facilitating effective clinical work placements for Griffith Bachelor of Nursing students.

“We are aiming for students to experience positive clinical work placements with our aged care partners. All too often aged care placements serve to discourage students from considering a career in aged care. We would like to see that turn around so that students have a more positive introduction to the sector and can identify clear career benefits to choosing aged care.”