The lack of qualifications and skills in aged care staff has been a concern of residents, their families and staff all around Australia. This concern has become so serious that consumers in ACT have taken action. Health Care Consumers ACT have put in a submission to a senate inquiry on the aged care workforce. Their main concerns were surrounding aged care staff members’ accreditation, training and language proficiency.
In the enquiry, Health Care Consumers ACT have called for an increase in continuing professional development – a set amount of hours working that would is kept on record to show that they have maintain the knowledge and furthered their education.
This currently does not exist for carers, as opposed to nurses who have to have at least 20 hours as a part of their registration.
Health Care Consumers ACT have also asked that there be a reassessment of the training and standards required for accreditation. This means that the facilities need to set a higher standard when hiring their staff and monitor their performance to ensure that their quality of work doesn’t decrease.
Health Care Consumers ACT are not the only ones who have expressed concern over these issues, The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus have also questioned the standard of training and qualifications that many staff are receiving from registered training organisations.
“It is disappointing for many aged care providers that Certificate III holders come with little or no knowledge of critical topics like manual handling, infection control and basic understanding of what personal care involves,” the charity have stated.
One of the biggest issues have been the language and cultural barriers between the staff and residents, which can prevent them from receiving appropriate care.
Australia being as multicultural as it is, it’s not surprising that many people speak a language other than English. Almost a quarter of care workers in aged care homes and 16% of care workers in the community speak a language other than English.
According to Health Care Consumers ACT, consumers want assurance that language and cultural training was provided, as well as support, to workers from different cultural backgrounds.
The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia have also suggested that aged care workers should be trained in cultural competency. They believe this will help the growing population of people, who have culturally and linguistically diverse background, receive aged care services.
This could a big step first step for aged care in Australia, should training and facility regulations be changed, as there are more than 8000 people work directly or indirectly in aged care in the ACT.
The committee is scheduled to report to Parliament this year in late April.