The national training program to upskill aged care workers to provide inclusive care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) seniors is providing benefits to staff, but the rollout has been patchy across the states, an interim evaluation shows.
Participants who undertook the one-day workshops reported feeling more confident in providing inclusive care and showed greater awareness of the care needs of LGBTI clients.
However, almost three quarters of workers who participated in the workshops and the program’s e-learning module were in NSW and Victoria, the evaluation found.
The three-year government funded national training project is currently funded to run until June 2016.
The project provides a free one-day workshop – covering areas such as health and ageing issues for LGBTI, social stigma, and inclusive practice – as well as an e-learning module designed to complement the face-to-face training and reach staff unable to attend the workshops.
The training was a key part of the National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy launched by the Labor Government in November 2012.
The interim evaluation report, which covered workshops from February 2014 to June 2015 and e-learning modules from July 2014 to June 2015, included findings from 3,027 participant surveys.
It found that after completing the one-day training, 95 per cent of participants said they felt they knew how to make their workplaces LGBTI inclusive – up from 44 per cent before.
The number of participants who felt that LGBTI clients had different care needs increased from 47 per cent before the workshop to 75 per cent after, the evaluation found.
Uneven uptake nationally
However, the report noted that of the 208 workshops that had been held at the time of the evaluation, Victoria and NSW accounted for 71 per cent of participants.
Similarly, of the 1,293 individuals enrolled in the e-learning module in the 12 months, 76 per cent were in NSW and Victoria.
Of those, 734 completed the e-learning module, representing a 57 per cent completion rate.
Discussing the low completion rate, the report noted that ACON, the agency managing the implementation of the module, had reported some aged care staff were enrolled in advance by their employers and had “voiced their displeasure about this often directly to ACON.” The partners believe this may be due to lack of staff time or internet access to participate in the training.
The agency had also speculated that employers may not reimburse staff to complete the training out of work hours, according to the report.
“The alliance should discuss with all partners how to better promote and market the module,” the report said.
Sustaining the program
Ollie Hand, project coordinator of the aged care training project at the National LGBTI Health Alliance, said the interim evaluation reinforced that participants valued the workshops, the delivery by experts in the field, and the open and non-judgmental environment in which they could ask questions.
Asked what would happen when the program’s funding runs out in June, Ms Hand said the project partners were hoping to secure further government funding to continue the program.
They were also exploring ways to “build in some sustainability” into the training, she told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“We’re trying to get a champions model off the ground in the next six months, so that people in aged care services have a sense of responsibility to be advocating for the cause of LGBTI,” Ms Hand said.
The partners have also been working with a private training organisation to develop and release a free e-module.
“The evaluation talks about 3,000 people being trained, since then another 1,000 have undergone the training. Certainly we haven’t reached any saturation point in terms of this training, so I’m really hoping we’re able to roll it out over a longer term and get it out there a bit more,” she said.
More information on the training is available at the National LGBTI Health Alliance website.
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