New scheme for aged care best practice
Could better care for elderly Australians become a reality?
There's new hope, thanks to a training program launched by the Adelaide-based Joanna Briggs Institute.
The Institute, an initiative of the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the University of Adelaide, is offering fellowships to train health professionals and administrators currently working in aged care within Australia.
Developed in alliance with the Commonwealth Government's Department of Health and Ageing, the program has a broad aim to foster best practice in aged care throughout the world.
"The problems in aged care aren't specific to Australia. The issues are similar throughout the world, and so the best practice we aim to develop is relevant internationally," said the Coordinator of the program and Scientific Assistant at the Institute, Dr Tim Schultz.
"Once we have the initial group of clinical fellows through we hope to call for applications from overseas. We are keen to expand this program, and we are seeking expressions of interest to support it internationally," he said.
Executive Director of the Joanna Briggs Institute Professor Alan Pearson highlighted the positive impact of the program on both aged care residents and those caring for them.
"Health care professionals involved in aged care have long recognised the need to develop best practice, and I applaud the Australian Government, and the Department of Health and Ageing, for showing initiative in supporting this clinical fellowship program that will undoubtedly lead to better outcomes for aged care residents," Professor Pearson said.
"When I spoke to people in aged care they were all very excited about the project," Dr Shultz said. "They felt it was time. They all want best practice put into aged care."
The scheme is aged-care specific and the first intake of fellows includes people involved in aged care with a wide range of expertise in mental health, quality, medication, clinical nursing consultation, research, administration, and nursing education.
"The Joanna Briggs Institute will train the clinical fellows, who currently work in aged care, in how to examine their practice and use the best available evidence along with various strategies and tools to achieve best practice," Dr Schultz said.
"Aged care has traditionally almost carried a stigma in that it is not an area where the best available evidence has been used extensively. Some people have seen it as secondary in terms of nursing, and generally in the past the feeling is that if you don't have any of those specialities then you go into aged care.
"Fellowships are not just open to nurses. Medical staff, allied health and anyone else working in aged care are invited to apply."