Working in aged care is not for everyone. It takes a special kind of person to care for the elderly. Personality can also play a big role – sometimes the person with the most knowledge is not necessarily the best fit for the job.

There is often a question of “quality of carers” who are working in aged care, and there are often complaints that some lack the basic skills to perform their job.

For an aged care organisation it is vital to ensure that the potential employee is qualified and adequately trained, but it is also equally important that they have other important traits such as empathy and compassion. To offer the best quality of care, aged care need to make sure that the person they are hiring will be suitable for caring for the elderly.

As we have seen recently some aged care operators do not always get it right, some however do better than others – which raises the question that maybe we are missing a key person in the hiring of staff?

The residents.

The suggestion came up recently that some aged care facilities are proposing to have residents, who are willing and able, to sit in on interviews and can help in the selection process of new employees.  

A unique way making aged care more resident focused and giving them a sense of purpose and inclusion in their own home.

Giving them a choice, as well as a better understanding of who will potentially be caring for them, can make living in aged care a more enriching experience.

If residents are the ones receiving care and we want to empower older people to truly feel like this is their home, then perhaps there is merit in having resident’s sit in on final interviews when hiring carers and nurses.

The best way to measure quality of staff is ask the end user – the older person. They are the ones who know what good care looks like and many are aware of what they want.

If you can choose who is your doctor, your dentist, your physiotherapist, why can’t you choose who cares for you and your fellow residents in aged care?

The proposal would not be to have aged care residents pick and choose who can and cannot work at the facility. Rather they would be there to “represent” their fellow residents in the process.

There is no doubt some fine tuning that would be required as an organisation, before aged care facilities began adopting it more readily. And presumably this would be a group decision and would not come down to the resident alone to make the final choice.

It’s about allowing them to have a say, involving the residents and being inclusive. This, potentially, may also reduce the number of complaints about employees if the residents were involved with the hiring process.

Residents are the ones receiving the care – they are the ones experiencing the qualities and attitude that make up a good carer.

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