Above: Darren Mathewson, CEO of Aged and Community Services Tasmania.

By Stephen Easton

Two Tasmanian nursing homes have teamed up with the University of Tasmania (UTAS) to become the first teaching aged care facilities in the Apple Isle.

The UTAS Teaching Aged Care Facilities Program, which launched yesterday, aims to help the students develop a positive attitude towards working in aged care and build the capacity of aged care facilities to support the education of healthcare professionals.

Masonic Peace Memorial Home in Launceston and Queen Victoria Home in Lindisfarne will host placements for nursing, medical and paramedical students under the program, led by the university’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre (WDREC).

CEO of Aged and Community Services (ACS) Tasmania, Darren Mathewson, said the peak body had supported the idea of teaching aged care facilities and worked within the sector to make it happen, after it was put forward by UTAS academics a number of years ago.

“Our view has always been that this is a critical model, not only for responding to future care demands, but also for attracting our workforce, and retaining our workforce,” Mr Mathewson said.

“For the residents in particular, it provides them access to a broader range of health professionals and for staff, it creates an environment of learning and research.

“Aged care now needs to be treated like the specialist area that it is. We need a workforce that can deal with the challenges it will face, and the reality is we therefore need to bring a broad group of health and medical professionals in, so they have the skills and knowledge to work in our sector.

“Otherwise, we won’t have the tools to deal with what’s before us.”

The Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, made similar comments on the value of the program to the aged care workforce in a speech at the launch of the program, which he said had been allocated more than $1.2 million in funding from the federal government.

“It’s critical we support the development of a highly educated and skilled workforce and attractive career paths in aged care,” Mr Butler said.

“Having a skilled workforce is particularly important as the ageing of our population is changing the face of care.”

The Minister used the opportunity of the launch to draw attention to an independent scoping study that strongly supports the value of teaching aged care facilities, and announced that a specific round of $4 million in funding for similar initiatives would open this week, under the Department of Health and Ageing’s Teaching Research and Aged Care Services program.

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  1. Hi Sam

    Thanks for the article The Salvation Army have just been asked to join this excellent collaboration. This is a fantastic endeavour and one which is sure to assist in the professional development of the nursing fraternity and the care provided in our wonderful industry.

  2. I fully support the program but who is supervising the grads. Are you suggesting that aged care do not have skilled caring Nurses? now what a smack in the face to us.
    Before we start patting ourselves on the back start with the basics, ie staffing, and all that is aged care good skill mix. supervision of grads most important
    at the present time I have a hard time using the word care

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