Given the current state of the aged care sector, there are very few elements within the industry that will be able to avoid scrutiny. Aged care facilities have been thrust into the spotlight recently, on the back of numerous abuse scandals and investigations.
Despite the horrific nature of some of the incidents that we see, the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of aged care employees are hard working people who endeavour to do their best for the people in their care.
The majority of workplace failings that you see within the aged care sector are the results of a lack of staffing that manifests into employees being unable to give the appropriate level of care.
This absence of staffing is generally the outcome of a lack of funding to pay for more staff, or in some cases, a lack of staff who are capable of doing the job required.
Caring for a vulnerable person is one of the few employment opportunities that can’t be simply looked at as a job.
The level of trust that should be required when entrusting somebody with a task of this magnitude, dictates that the person who does the job should possess the character and empathy required to put their skills to best use.
While the character and personality traits of an aged care worker are vital to their job, the skills and practices put in place from the start are indicative of the trajectory of their career.
Those who train complacent, remain complacent, and those who learn things the right way, generally get the best results.
Peter Kyriacou, Director of the Institute of Tertiary & Higher Education Australia, otherwise known as ITHEA, has implemented training programs that have readied thousands of aged care employees for the workforce.
He believes that high level care is the result of high level training over a sustained period of time.
“It takes a long time to form habits. And some of the situations that people find themselves in within an aged care environment call for quick and immediate action. You shouldn’t have to think about what you need to do, It needs to become an instinct,” he said.
“These instincts need to be correct though, and the only way that happens is by receiving training from people who have years of experience actually doing the work that you are training do. You don’t need trainers who learned about the work, you need good workers who learned how to train.”
There are currently 3.7 million people over the age of 65 in Australia which equates to roughly one out of every seven people. This number and the proportion of older Australians is expected to continue growing, and by 2097, it is projected that one in every four people will actually be over the age of 65.
This rapidly aging population will require a workforce that can facilitate demand and is capable of dealing with the strain that these numbers will put on facilities. Meaning that workers will have to be better than ever.
Mr Kyriacou believes that the length of training is pivotal to ensuring that aged care employees are properly equipped to deal with the challenges that they may face, and that industry training shortcuts play a big role in substandard care.
“People should have at least one year worth of training under their belt in order to work in the industry, and even though this is a widely held belief, there are people who have found loopholes to speed up the training process. This might give a facility access to employees quicker, but it is definitely not in the best interest of the people receiving care,” he said.
As the need for employees grows, making high level training courses financially accessible must become a priority if Australians are interested in improving the quality of aged care services for the future.
Peter believes that government funded courses available at institutions like ITHEA will play a pivotal role in this process.
“This industry needs workers. We just need to make sure that they have right level of training and that current workers are upskilled appropriately. Here at ITHEA we are proud to boast full length training courses that are being taught by industry veterans, and this is the level of training that everyone should want for aged care workers,” said Peter.l
“These courses deliver nationally accredited qualifications and are financially accessible for pretty much anyone looking to enter the aged care sector. We actually have courses that are valued at over $10,000 that merely require a fee of $200 for eligible students. And most importantly it’s quality training.”
The aged care industry needs as many thoroughly skilled individuals walking through facility corridors as it can get it’s hands on.
Making quality training programs readily accessible to all Australians will play a big part in planning for everyone’s future.
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Looking good and feeling good have always gone hand in hand. Your appearance is a reflection of the way that you treat yourself, and the way that you treat yourself will always be a reflection of how you feel.
As a person ages, their diminishing physical capabilities can result in a lack of ability to dress and present themselves. For elderly people who reside in aged care facilities, this responsibility will fall to the facility employees who have been entrusted with their care.
Being at the point where you are unable to dress yourself would be hard enough, but having the person who has been entrusted to dress you on a daily basis continually display a lack of effort in your appearance, would be demoralising.
While a number of things do deteriorate as we age, the need to feel valued as a person is definitely not one of them. But due to the current pressures that a lot of facilities are facing, the significance of this issue is sometimes lost.
Elderly aged care residents are more susceptible to feelings of isolation and loneliness than any other group of Australians, which stems from the avoidance and lack of attention being given to them. This can result in feelings of low self-worth and can compound other mental health issues they may be dealing with.
Even though getting dressed might be the least important task in terms of a residents physical wellbeing, it actually has a significant impact on their overall happiness and the way that they feel about themselves.
And that’s why it is important that new employees heading into the aged care sector understand the value of investing some extra time into dressing and preparing a resident for their day.
Because having a sense of pride in the way that you present a resident, allows them to maintain a sense of pride in themselves.
The Human Element of Care
Aged Care Coordinator, Dee Condy, has spent over 40 years working in the aged care sector and now finds herself preparing new prospective staff for the aged care industry at the Institute of Tertiary & Higher Education Australia (ITHEA.)
And she believes that ensuring that our elderly get the best care available comes down to ensuring that new staff empathises and understands the human element of care, just as much as much as the procedure.
“If you can imagine how demoralising it would be to be poorly dressed every day against your wishes, you can comprehend how important it is to present a resident in a way that they are happy with. Nobody that I know likes to leave the house looking their worst, and that feeling doesn’t go away as you age.”
“If you’re starting out in aged care, it’s important that you truly understand the fact that caring for someone is not ticking a bunch of boxes for the tasks that you need to complete. You need to understand that it’s the little things, and the attention to detail that makes the difference in a person’s day,” said Dee.
The importance of the role that an aged care employee plays is almost without equal in the employment sector. While there is an element of trust for every job, there are very few jobs that carry the weight of expectation and level of trust given to someone who is caring for a vulnerable elderly person.
The residents rely on the employees to provide them with the most enriching experience possible in the remaining years of their life.
This a level of responsibility that can not be adequately described by being simply being referred to as a ‘job.’
For residents with mobility issues, being dressed by a staff member can actually be one of the few human interactions they have on a daily basis.
Which makes the need for these interactions to be a positive experience even more vital.
A Personal Story
Mrs. Condy has spent decades working in aged care facilities and looking after high care residents and recently told a story that speaks volumes about the types of values that she enforces when training students at ITHEA.
“I spent Melbourne Cup Day at an aged care facility where I was overlooking some of our students who are currently in work placement. And I took the liberty of dressing and presenting a resident myself in order to lighten the load.”
“The resident that I dressed was an older woman who was generally known as a non-communicator within the facility. But I did my best to match her clothes and shoes, and do her hair in a way that would suit the theme of Melbourne Cup Day.”
“I got out a lipstick that matched her outfit and completed the look, and as she stood there admiring herself in the mirror I saw something that virtually nobody had seen from this resident in a very long time. I saw a smile. And that’s what aged care should be about,” she said.
The way an employee presents a resident is a reflection on the level of emotional investment that they have in their job. And while it’s understood that extra time is not a luxury that is often afforded to aged care employees it’s important to remind them of just how important presentation can be to a resident’s well being.
“It can be as simple as listening to a resident. And for those that aren’t capable of communicating their thoughts, you can try different things and look for signs of a positive response. The main thing is to understand that it means something, and work towards doing the best you can to meet the resident’s expectations.”
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Our population is growing fast and many of our Victorian residents are getting older. Which means, a number of our elderly citizens will need to go into Residential Aged Care in the future. As the population ages, the need for specialist carers is in high demand.
We recognise the importance of human connection in residential aged care facilities and are looking for students who have a positive caring attitude towards the elderly. After all, this is about looking after those who are unable to look after themselves. With the right training and education, you will gain valuable skills that will ensure our elderly residents are given the care they need.
Whether you are a job seeker, need to up-skill or looking for a new career, ITHEA offers prospective students a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) and Certificate IV in Ageing Support. Both courses are delivered in a classroom setting, which allows teachers to assess students and gather evidence about a students performance.
This is critical to ensuring our students build their employability skills. Students gain valuable knowledge in emergency procedures as well as individualised support and infection prevention. Our curriculum is structured to meet industry standards, which means our qualifications are nationally recognised.
Placement in Real Aged Care Facilities
As part of our curriculum, all students must undertake a minimum of 120 hours of practical placement, for both the Certificate III and IV, at an affiliated aged care facility. All students are assessed under supervision, and it important students have a valid National Police Check before they begin placement.
As students undertake placement in real residential aged care facilities, many are offered employment at that facility once they complete their studies.
Study Full Time and be Qualified in One Year
Here at ITHEA, we want students to be fully equipped with the skills and training they need to work in the aged care industry. Our Certificate III and IV courses are each one-year in duration, where students must complete and pass all units of competency to obtain the qualification. Along with the minimum 120 hours of practical placement, ITHEA ensures students receive the best training and qualifications.
Real Employability Skills with Increased Job Opportunities
With the Federal government committed to increasing quality in the Aged Care industry, the need for skilled carers is in high demand. Our courses in aged care coincide with the national guidelines in aged care. This includes:
- Providing individualised support
- Support independence and well-being
- Assist patients with Dementia
- Recognise healthy body systems
Here at ITHEA, our Certificate III and IV in Individual and Ageing support are highly regarded by those in the aged care industry. As such, our students gain the critical knowledge and training needed to work in an aged care facility. This ensures that our graduates obtain employment at leading facilities throughout Victoria.
A career in Aged Care in Melbourne is just an application away. To find out more about our courses get in touch with ITHEA today on (03) 9650 3900 or send an enquiry online.
As the population of Victoria continues to grow, so too does the demand for highly skilled childcare workers. More than ever, childcare centres are seeking out the best educators that are highly qualified and trained in early childhood education and care. Which is why obtaining the right qualification is crucial to both your employability and the education needs of children in childcare.
A long and rewarding career in childcare begins in the classroom. At ITHEA, our courses are structured to meet the standards of Victorian childcare centres. We give students flexibility with their studies, with both online and in-class study options available. Our courses are taught by industry professionals who have a wealth of experience working in early childhood education and care.
At ITHEA, we offer prospective students both the Certificate III and Diploma level courses. Both qualifications are highly regarded within the industry, and employers value the skills our students gain from studying our courses.
Real World Learning Environments
In order to obtain a qualification, all students are required to undertake practical placement at one of our affiliated long day care centres. Students enrolled in the Certificate must complete a minimum 120 hours of practical placement, while in the Diploma they must complete a minimum of 240 hours. Students are assessed in the workplace.
Prior to undertaking placement, students must have a valid Working with Children check.
Students undertake placement at Long Day care centres in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Increased Employment Opportunities
ITHEA is a member of the Australian Childcare Alliance of Victoria (ACAV) and we have established long-standing relationships with long day care centres around Melbourne. As such, our students and graduates of both courses are in high demand from our affiliated childcare centres.
Upon successful completion of their studies, many of our students receive employment offers from the centres they undertake placement at, or continue on to further study. With the job outlook in the industry increasing over the next few years, it is more important than ever that you receive the right education and training.
Whether you are a recent high school graduate or looking for a new challenge, a career in childcare is right for you. Gain valuable skills and training from industry leaders in real-world learning environments. For more information about our Early Childhood Education and Care courses, contact ITHEA today on (03) 9650 3900 or visit our website.
“I really couldn’t have asked for a better institute to complete my Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. It’s been so amazing from the teachers to the friends I’ve made. The multi-cultural environment makes learning even more exciting and interesting.
The teachers are very experienced in their field and the classroom delivery system lays a strong foundation for people interested in Early Childhood Education and Care.
Special thanks to Suzie who is not just an amazing teacher but always willing to extend all the support when needed.”
NEW CRICOS Courses
Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing), Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability), Certificate IV in Ageing Support, Certificate IV in Disability, Diploma of Community Services, Certificate II in Business, Certificate III in Business, Advanced Diploma of Business, Certificate IV in Leadership and Management, Diploma of Leadership and Management, Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management
Important changes to the student visa programme – from 1 July 2016
New student visa applicants
From 1 July 2016, there will be only one student visa available to study in Australia – the Student visa (subclass 500).
After 1 July 2016, if you want to study in Australia, you will need to apply for the Student visa (subclass 500) regardless of your field of study.
The Institute of Tertiary and Higher Education has a new address
Level 11, 168 Lonsdale Street
Tel 03 96503900
Fax 03 96503199