Research and teaching aged care centre opens in Adelaide

University of Adelaide medical students with Resthaven residents at the new Adelaide G-TRAC Centre.
Photo by Michael Mullan.

University of Adelaide medical students with Resthaven residents at the new Adelaide G-TRAC Centre.
Photo by Michael Mullan.

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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

South Australia has a new state-of-the-art teaching and research aged care centre with the opening of the Adelaide G-TRAC Centre at Resthaven Paradise campus.

The G-TRAC (Adelaide Geriatrics Training & Research with Aged Care) Centre is a partnership between Resthaven and the University of Adelaide, with funding from Health Workforce Australia, an Australian Government initiative.

The Minister for Ageing, the Hon. Mark Butler, said the new model is similar to a teaching hospital and incorporates aged care services with research and education.

"We have teaching hospitals in the health sector but we have not traditionally had teaching aged care centres," said Mr Butler, who officially launched the G-TRAC Centre today.

"What this enables us to do is to bring together the right mix of education and clinical practice to develop a more effective approach to aged care.

"For residents, that means a more complete service that caters for their changing needs and is more responsive, making use of the latest research and evidence about care and support.

"For students, workers, providers and the aged care sector more generally it is about creating the best possible learning environment and making aged care an attractive and exciting industry to work in.

"In particular, aged care staff will be able to 'mentor' students on clinical placements, provide input into, and review curriculum development, and ensure students have practical skills and exposure to working in aged care."

More than 200 older South Australian residents living at Resthaven will benefit from the centre's stronger alliance of health and research with aged care, medical and geriatric training, rehabilitation and outreach services.

Mr Butler said the Australian Government had invested $1 million towards the centre's establishment and a further $430,000 has been provided to the University of Adelaide to offer a more comprehensive blend of training, research and clinical services.

"By 2050, we need to almost triple the size of the current aged care workforce and we need a highly skilled and flexible South Australian aged care workforce to meet projected demand," Mr Butler said.

Professor Justin Beilby, Executive Dean of the University's Faculty of Health Sciences, said the new centre will be a major step forward.

"This centre supports better training of our students in ageing medicine, as well as providing us with a base for research into the many healthcare issues faced by older Australians and those who care for them," Professor Beilby said.

"For our students, this centre will provide exposure to the full range of health and aged care services, giving them a unique, hands-on education and training experience.

"For our researchers, the centre will become a vital research hub, helping to provide answers to many questions about geriatric health and care, and in turn providing great benefits to the community."

Resthaven Chief Executive Officer Richard Hearn said he was delighted Resthaven is working in partnership with University of Adelaide. "Resthaven has a tradition of working with tertiary institutions to offer students real-life experience in aged care," Mr Hearn said.

"An appropriately skilled and available medical future workforce is a significant need for the community. We are happy to further extend our resources through this important work with the University and to increase medical and clinical placements in aged care.

"This innovative centre has the potential to set a new benchmark in training medical and other health professionals through valuable real-life experiences in a hands-on learning environment. The potential to improve health and well being with a positive approach to ageing resonates with Resthaven's purpose, to offer outstanding care and support for older people and their carers."

The new centre is one of 16 Australian Government funded aged care learning and teaching hubs being established around Australia to model the best available aged care, which incorporates training and research into clinical practice.

The centre is affiliated with the specialist geriatrician service of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as well as the Alzheimer's Association South Australia and the public health rehabilitation, mental health and palliative care services for older people.


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