Staff engagement and satisfaction is key to quality aged care in the home. That is the key finding of new research from the Anglicare Australia Network, supported by industry super fund, HESTA.
“As our population ages, it’s becoming more and more important that older people get the care and support they need at home. But very little research has been done on the experiences of frontline, home-based aged care workers,” said Anglicare Australia’s Acting Executive Director Roland Manderson.
HESTA Chief Partnerships Officer Neil Saxton said the Fund was proud to partner with Anglicare Australia and the Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise who conducted the in-depth study into staff experiences.
“As we’ve been seeing in the Royal Commission, the Aged Care sector faces an unprecedented period of change and it’s vital that the voice of those working in the sector is heard so we can ensure high quality care for older Australians,” Mr Saxton said.
“Our members working in aged care do amazing work every day, often in difficult circumstances. We hope research insights like these will support industry change and innovation to assist our members to improve the quality of life of their clients.”
Mr Manderson said the aim of the research was to explore insights from frontline workers around challenges they faced in providing homecare.
“We want to use these insights to improve care for older people in the home.
“Staff told us that the best quality care is relational care. That means valuing and supporting workers, so they can support older people. And it means cutting through some of the red tape that surrounds them so they can spend more time caring for people.
“Our research also found that Consumer Directed Care models sometimes throw up their own challenges. It can be hard to balance the demand for flexibility against the need to build consistent relationships between staff and clients. The staff we spoke to treasure these relationships, and they are very sensitive to the needs of their clients.
“Many of them told us that they haven’t been funded to give the level of care that older people require. They want to do more, but they simply aren’t able to. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to clear the backlog of home care packages – and make sure the packages that are funded meet people’s needs.
“At the end of the day, we found that frontline workers enjoyed their work and cared deeply for their clients. And that is despite the pressure of an imperfect system. Listening to their insights is critical to building a quality home care system,” said Mr Manderson.
The report, Quality Jobs and Best Practice Care: Improving Homecare Staff Engagement Within a Consumer Directed Care Environment, is based on interviews and focus groups with staff in AnglicareSA and Amana Living Perth. It contains a wealth of insights on how to improve the quality of home care.